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There are families scattered throughout our area with loved ones who are deployed service members.  Their presence provides us with a great opportunity to support our troops and their families in a time of great stress in their lives.  Assisting these families begins with knowing who they are, and staying alert to identify these families among church, school, and workplace communities.  Here are some practical ideas for providing support.  The list is not exhaustive: Please use you imagination!

Prayer

The power of prayer remains a rich source of comfort to those enduring deployment.  Displays with prayer support slips in church vestibules can encourage parishioners to keep the military families in their prayer intentions.  Individuals could sign up for a specific day of prayer on a prayer vigil scroll covering each day of the deployment.

Acknowledgement

Cards telling families that you appreciate their sacrifice and are praying for them can be a high spot in one of their days of waiting.  Send a cheerful greeting letting them know they are not forgotten.  Holidays and weekends are the toughest times for families during deployment.  Special greetings and invitations during these times send a message of care and compassion.

Service

It is Murphy’s Law that things tend to break as soon as the deployment is underway.  A list of trusted service providers who won’t overcharge can be a Godsend: Mechanics, plumbers, computer experts, yard workers, and respite child care providers could start the list.  Even better, a list of willing volunteers from a church, civic, neighborhood or workplace community could provide tremendous comfort.

Assist families to maintain holiday traditions with help setting up the Christmas tree, outdoor lights, or simply retrieving boxes from the attic.  Host a parish dinner to honor the family, including spouse, children, parents and siblings of the deployed service member.

Arrange child care during church activities that may not already provide them, such as Bible study.

Offer assistance sending care packages to the deployed service member.