July 3, 2020 - With July 4th right around the corner, we all gear up to celebrate Independence Day. Being tied to the military, we understand the sacrifice soldiers have made now and in the years throughout American History. However, this independence day we encourage you to also take a moment to reflect on the emotional toll military service and deployments have on families.
Of course having a spouse or parent gone during deployment is difficult. Families must adjust to new realities and routines, cope with missed holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays, and worry about the safety of their loved one. Back here at home families lean on one another for support, find ways to send their love through care packages and notes, and develop a sense of the new "normal" to get through deployment.
However, deployment is also extremely taxing on the service member as well. While they lean on their brothers and sisters in uniform, nothing replaces the missed moments and memories while being away from family.
Operation Kid Comfort, our program that provides military children with a deployed parent a personalized quilt or pillow case at no-cost, began during a deployment back in 2003. A young child kept taking pictures of his deployed father from around the house and placing them under the crib in an attempt to be closer to daddy. His grandmother, a fabric artist, upon seeing this came up with the idea of making a comfort quilt. The quilt provided the young boy the chance to see and hug his father every day, providing a sense of security throughout the deployment. However, the quilt also had an impact on the deployed father. When he returned home he shared his own struggle with being away from his family and missing key moments in his young child's growth. In appreciation he shared, “Operation Kid Comfort ensured that my daughter would not forget me during my deployment.”
Operation Kid Comfort has come a long way since 2003 serving thousands of military families over the years. We are pleased to share that while Operation Kid Comfort began here at the Armed Services YMCA Fort Bragg, the program can be found at numerous Armed Services YMCA branches throughout the country.
This 4th of July we encourage everyone to take a moment to appreciate their loved ones for a moment longer and thank our military members for their service and our military families for their strength. We would also ask you consider sponsoring a child's Operation Kid Comfort quilt or pillowcase for only $30. You can do so by donating today at https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/quilts-for-military-kids-through-operation-kid-comfort.
Our goal is to raise $3,000 for the creation of 100 quilts before July 18 as we receive a large number of requests for support due to the recent deployment of the 82nd Airborne.