Airport arrival/departure - Family member guest passes to gate
Family members who want to accompany a military service member being deployed to the boarding gate or greet them returning from deployment at the arrival gate may receive passes to enter the secure area of the airport. Interested military family members should contact their air carrier representative at the departure/arrival airport for proper local procedures.
Note: It might be wise to make inquires in advance, or to arrive early in the event that you encounter uninformed airline representatives.
Air travel assistance
There are a few organizations (Helping Heroes Fly, Let's Bring 'Em Home, Operation Fly a Soldier Home, Operation Homefront's Miles for Military, Operation Ride Home, Wings for our Troops) who may be able to help with airfare for military to visit home before or after a deployment. Visit this LINK to learn more.
Books and DVDs
Military families (adults and kids) can sign up to receive a free shipment of books and DVDs from Operation Paperback! This is available for deployed military as well.
Full Circle Home
Full Circle Home helps our busy deployed military send a love note and a gift to their wives, fiancés, girlfriends and moms for Christmas and Mother's Day. Be sure to tell your deployed service member about this program!
HOME Helping Our Military Everywhere
Would you like to benefit from a mail call program of weekly letters and monthly care packages? Register with HOME's Adopt a Military Spouse program!
Little Patriots Embraced Family Deployment Package
Little Patriots Embraced wants to deliver a LPE Family Package to each family dealing with deployment. It is our way of saying how much we love and appreciate them for their service and sacrifice. Items in our package can offer emotional and psychological support for family members.
- USA Patriot Bear Quilt /Wall-hanging (for the home of every military family)
- Baby Blanket (custom designed soft receiving blanket to hold each baby born in a family of our military)
- Little Patriot Bear (designed for this program and for the arms of all children in the military)
- "We Care" Magnet (holds a card with important phone numbers for assistance)
- Ink Pen (to write their loved one)
- CD (soothing and relaxing music for the family as well as returning service member)
- Adult Writing Journal (a way to express thoughts and feelings)
- Childs Writing Journal (a drawing and writing journal for children)
- Large Tote Bag (for the items)
Support Military Spouses
Be sure to register for this program! Each year thoughtfully assembled Military Spouse Care Packages are given to deserving military wives and husbands serving on the home front. Items in the care package may include Hallmark stationery, Hallmark notepads, shower gel, coffee, Stella & Dot jewelry, a book of inspiration, manicure sets, a deck of cards, and a handwritten thank you note letting the spouses know how special they are. A New Testament is always included. Our present day goal is simple; to provide each of the nearly 750,000 military spouses with a Military Spouse Care Package annually.
Our youngest heroes at home need to be honored too. These children of serving military are remembered through our Littlest Heroes Care Packages. Each care package we deliver may include items like a bed time story, a puzzle, and handwritten note thanking the Littlest Hero for their service too. A Book About Jesus is always included.
Visit this LINK for a listing of organizations that send care packages to deployed military.
Childbirth and babies
Free baby carriers for military families from The Carrying On Project
For generations, the practice of baby-wearing has made caring for children easier while helping them develop or maintain life-long bonds with caregivers. The goal of the Carrying On Project is to help get carriers to the families of our military so that they may better obtain secure attachments with their children, something that deployment and injuries will often interrupt. We seek to assist both the service members and the families left behind in “Carrying On” while both home and away, to make something that is difficult for the whole family a little bit easier.
Baby gifts, baby showers, and additional childbirth resources for military families are listed on this LINK.
Children and teens
Activity grants for children of the National Guard and Reserves
National Guard and Reserve families sometimes have trouble accessing support services from military installations. During deployments, these families may lose income when their military member leaves a civilian job to accept a military position overseas. The loss of income and lack of resources can create gaps that are hard on families.
Our Military Kids fills these gaps with a simple grant program that pays for children’s activities (sports, music lessons, etc.). Within days of receiving applications from eligible families, the staff at the Our Military Kids office will send special “Top Secret” packets to children, thanking them for their service to our country. Checks are sent directly to specified activity providers.
100+ books for military children going through deployment
Yes, there are indeed over 100 books! I have even included convenient Amazon links to help you learn more about each book and read the reviews. Here are my lists:
Visit this LINK for a free book that you can customize, save and print (Daddy is in the Military or Mommy is in the Military. Military OneSource offers free deployment board books to help your young child cope with the departure and homecoming of their parent - LINK.
- Over There (Daddy version)
- Over There (Mommy version)
- I'm Here for You Now (each page has a window to insert personal photos)
Free Brat Town Bugle TM
Are you frustrated as you listen to your deployed spouse trying to carry a conversation with your kids over the phone and going nowhere? I co-created Brat Town Bugle TM to help. Kids of all ages can create a newspaper of pictures and stories to send to their loved one and the deployed parent will read about what's going on at home. What a great way to connect the deployed dad or mom with the lives of his/her kids at home!
Free coloring pages and activity sheets
There are many free, downloadable coloring pages are designed just for military kids! Use them to help kids stay connected with their deployed parent or to help cope while a parent is away.
Free Flat Brat TM
I co-created Flat Brat TM to help military kids connect with their deployed parent! Kids can customize the Flat Brat TM to look like themselves and then send to their deployed parent, who can then take pictures of Flat Brat TM so kids can see where their loved one and Flat Brat TM eat, do their laundry, etc.
Free Battalion Buddies teddy bears
In cooperation with Family Readiness Officers and Battalion leaders nationwide, Operation Gratitude will provide special stuffed toys – known as Battalion Buddies – to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel as their units prepare to deploy.
U.S. Military: We are happy to send the Battalion Buddies to all the children of a deploying or deployed unit upon request from the rear detachment and/or family readiness officer. Please have the command contact us at BattalionBuddy@gmail.com so we can make arrangements directly with them for a shipment.
Free dogtags sent from their loved one overseas
An outreach from Dog Tags for Kids -- Have your deployed unit request dog tags to send back as gifts for their children at home. Options include branch of service, "With Love from Dad" or "With Love from Mom" in English or Spanish, country and year. Military kids treasure these special gifts!
Free Operation Kid Comfort photo quilt or pillow
Volunteers at the Armed Services YMCA create custom-made photo transfer quilts and pillows to help with the separation of deployment. Each child receives a quilt or pillow; children 7 and under receive a quilt, 8 and older receive a pillow. These hand-crafted quilts and pillow help children cope with emotional stress during a parent’s deployment.
Operation Kid Comfort is offered to all active duty children, and created by loving volunteers at our branch locations across the country.
Free picture pillow from Sweet Dreams Picture Project
The Sweet Dream Pillow Project provides a small oval-shaped pillow featuring a picture of a child's mom or dad in uniform that they can hug and hold no matter how far away they may be in the world defending freedom. To be eligible for a Sweet Dreams Pillow, those serving must be deployed for at last 3 months. The photos used must feature the parent serving in uniform, which will also be cropped appropriately to fit the pillow as needed.
Free respite childcare for military families - YMCA
Participating YMCAs offer care for your children in a safe and nurturing environment while you take some much deserved time for yourself. You can leave to catch up on errands, stay and enjoy a tension-relieving class or simply relax. It’s up to you!
Respite child care is available for infants (or youngest age permitted at the participating YMCA) up to 12 years of age (or oldest age permitted at the participating YMCA).
Operation Help a Hero's Camp Joy near Camp Pendleton, CA also offers respite childcare for deployed families - LINK Opportunities for respite childcare financial assistance are found here - LINK
A Story Before Bed
A Story Before Bed is giving away over 250,000 free recordings to parents in the U.S. military who are spending time away from their kids
United Through Reading
United Through Reading is dedicated to uniting U.S. military families who face physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.
In more than 200 locations worldwide, United Through Reading offers military service members the opportunity to be video-recorded reading books to their children at home. Our program creates emotional connections between parents and their children, encourages literacy, and makes homecomings easier.
Visit this LINK for a listing of additional resources to help children and teens with a deployed or geographically separated parent.
Free Scripture resources from the American Bible Society and free set of 4 devotionals for military wives
The American Bible Society is able to offer free Scripture resources (including free shipping) to U.S. military service members, veterans and their immediate family members. Includes branch-specific Bibles, pocket-sized New Testaments, children's Bibles, devotionals, God Understands booklets, rosaries, and more.
Journey of a Military Wife devotionals -- Journey through Bible stories that shed timeless – and practical – truth on issues you will encounter in a life of military service. Deployment, separation, reintegration, relocation, or many other situations, these studies will point you to the Lord for direction, help, and encouragement. Written by an Army chaplain spouse. Click here to order your free set (or use link above if ordering additional materials from the American Bible Society).
Military Bible Challenge free Bible studies and devotionals
Gain access to free Bible studies and devotionals designed for military personnel, veterans and their families. Track your progress, record personal insights and share your thoughts, comments and prayer requests. Interact with groups and invite others to read with you as you take the Bible Challenge.
Visit this LINK for a listing of military devotionals, Bibles, online devotionals and apps for your smart phone. Visit this LINK for a listing of military Bible studies. Be sure to share this LINK with your chaplain who will have access to additional spiritual resources.
Operation Homelink™ provides refurbished computers to the spouses or parents of junior enlisted (E1 –E5) U.S. deployed service men and women enabling email communication with their loved one deployed overseas. We offer this service on behalf of our donor corporations as a way to demonstrate their support of our brave men and women serving our country.
Operation Homelink is not able to accept individual requests for computers nor send single computers to individual families. Operational cost efficiencies enable us to maximize the families we can “connect” by only sending computers in bulk (usually 50+) to units that recently or will soon deploy. Because our donor corporations designate the recipient units or bases, (usually located near their headquarters), our program provides a simple, non-cash method to support their local military community.
Military OneSource is your central hub and go-to-place for the military community. Get to know your benefits and prepare for the big stuff – deployments, reintegration, moves, parenthood, retirement and more. Browse by topic or search for that strangely specific question you want to know the answers to. No matter where military life takes you, with Military OneSource you'll always be in the loop.
Operation Homefront assists military families during difficult financial times by providing food assistance, auto and home repair, vision care, travel and transportation, moving assistance, essential home items, and rent-free transitional housing for wounded veterans and their families.
Additional Operation Homefront programs include: Homefront Celebrations, Star-Spangled Baby Showers, Back-to-School Brigades and Holiday Meals for Military.
If you have a financial need, I recommend that you first seek the assistance of your chaplain or family support services at your installation. You can also visit this LINK for a listing of additional financial assistance opportunities.
Holiday support (Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Thanksgiving and Christmas military family support
If you are located on or near a military installation, be sure to check with your unit or your chaplain for holiday opportunities. If your family has a financial need, be sure to also visit my list of holiday support for military families, some of which have a specific outreach to support families of deployed military.
Horseback riding sessions
Horses 4 Heroes (Las Vegas, NV)
An opportunity to ride a horse for free (or discounted) -- Operation Free Ride is a program that offers weekly, hosted or sponsored horseback riding sessions that are free for every member of their family! This program serves military families with a deployed family member, as well as families who have a family member with a disability or serious illness. While our program is not able to serve the needs of the developmentally disabled or those with serious or terminal illnesses, we invite the other family members to enjoy the distractions and benefits to body and soul that only a day with horses can provide.
Operation Free Ride is just one of the programs that help Horses4Heroes fulfill its mission to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, the families of the heroes in our community including, but not limited to: active duty military personnel, veterans, law enforcement officers, fire fighters/EMTs, critical care and hospice nurses and others.
Ladies Unbridled is a weekly Ladies Only riding session. We are looking for stay-at-home military moms, wives with a deployed, injured or deceased spouse, young military wives and other ladies who would like or need a little “me” time with horses! At our Las Vegas HQ, we request a $10 donation for each session. Prices can vary from facility to facility.
Visit this LINK for a listing of additional equine opportunities for military families.
Green Care for Troops
Lawn and landscape maintenance becomes a definite hardship when a family's major breadwinner is on active duty away from home. GreenCare for Troops is designed to show the green industry's concern for this situation, helping affected families maintain their homes' green spaces.
40 Days of the Deployment Dare (The Love Dare for military families)
Have you had the thought, “What good is it to do The Love Dare book when we’re so far apart during this deployment?” We read the book with just that question in mind and offer these daily ideas to complement what the authors, the Kendrick brothers, have written so well. If you and your spouse are separated by deployment, but want to grow closer to each other and deal with the challenges of marriage, add these comments each day to what the authors have “dared.”
Actually—in some ways—The Love Dare is easier to do while separated! Don’t let Satan deceive you into thinking that it is not possible to grow together when duty calls you apart!
You will each need a copy of The Love Dare book. Here is a link to Amazon to order your copies. (This is an Affiliate link which means that I get a small commission at no cost to you if you order from this Amazon link.)
There's an app for that! - Lifegiver app by Corie Weathers
Corie Weathers, a licensed professional counselor certified to work with PTSD, has a rich history serving military and first responder families. As the 2015 Armed Forces Military Spouse of the Year, Corie had the unique opportunity to expand her expertise beyond the counseling office through the Lifegiver Podcast, speaking, consulting military organizations, and churches.
She authored Sacred Spaces: My Journey to the Heart of Military Marriage after traveling with the Secretary of Defense to visit troops in Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, and ships in the Persian Gulf. Sacred Spaces offers a raw look in to a military marriage that has inspired hundreds of couples to be more intentional in strengthening their own marriage.
The Lifegiver app brings your marriage a unique opportunity to invest in your marriage like never before in an interactive way. In one place you can now:
- Listen to powerful interviews and marriage topics on the Lifegiver Podcast
- Watch videos, talks, and webinars on marriage and family topics at your convenience.
- Apply content to your life in a lasting way through fillable notes
- Be the first to be notified when new content is available
- Share your favorite episodes and content easily with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email.
Visit this LINK for a listing of additional military marriage resources. If you need additional help or counseling, be sure to contact your chaplain. Military OneSource is another resource for your marriage.
Pet foster care and boarding during deployment
There are a number of opportunities for pet foster care and boarding during deployment. Visit this LINK.
Deployment Photo Sessions
There are a number of organizations who have photographers that donate their time in support of deployment photo sessions for military families. Visit my listing to see if there is one in your area.
Snow Care for Troops
Project EverGreen has partnered with The BOSS Snowplow to connect military families with snow and ice management professionals and volunteers to provide free snow and ice removal services.
Vacation, recreation, camps, retreats
View my exhaustive lists of opportunities for military families (too many to list here on this page!)
TroopTree is the first video messaging service allowing users to record, store and deliver videos - either now, or 30 years from now!
TroopTree does not require a simultaneous internet connection for people to communicate with each other. TroopTree allows future delivery of videos (patent pending), affording users the opportunity to share memories and advice with loved ones even long after the video is recorded. Record a bedtime story for your kids when you are deployed, share some personal thoughts with loved ones so they can treasure them FOREVER, or just share a fun story about life with someone far away, or around the block. TroopTree also allows members of the public to record "Thank you" videos for our Armed Forces. Check our home page, and watch the videos recorded for YOU.
Welcome Home banners and jumbo cards (free)
Build A Sign
Since 2008, BuildASign.com® has helped make homecomings a little more special by giving away more than 337,000 Welcome Home banners and signs to military friends and families for their loved ones returning home from a deployment. Be sure to order yours!