Published: May 1, 2022
5 Meaningful Ways To Honor Military Appreciation Month
Military Appreciation Month kicks off today, Sunday, May 1st!
To honor the men and women — and their families — currently serving in the armed forces, Blue Star Families and Operation Gratitude teamed up to share five meaningful ways to shower this community with small, but very worthy acts of intentional kindness all month long.
Why now? Because in addition to it being Military Appreciation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, our military families are holding onto a lot amidst a national pandemic and the ripples of a foreign war. As two organizations that hear from military-connected families every day, we know they could use some extra love.
Take, for instance, Dustin’s family. He was in Afghanistan for 10 months and fully engaged in operations, training, and combat — all things we associate with the military. And back on the homefront, his wife Sarrah was doing a lot to support his mission. She cared for their two boys, homeschooled them, and prepared the entire family for a cross-country move — alone.
When our service members deploy, they cannot support household obligations and family needs, which can seriously impact a spouse’s physical and mental well-being. So, it comes as no surprise that 25% of military spouse respondents to Blue Star Families’ 2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey report a current diagnosis of a generalized anxiety disorder, which is up to 10 times higher than their civilian counterparts. Kathy Roth-Douquet, Blue Star Families’ Founder and CEO, sheds some light on the importance of this finding:, “[T]his is important to know because when the health and safety of our military families is jeopardized, mission readiness suffers, and the risk of not being able to defend our country in a crisis grows stronger.”
Because of this, Blue Star Families and Operation Gratitude are calling upon you — our fellow citizens — to lend a hand this month. Whether you know a currently-serving military family or not, here are five ways you can show support and appreciation right now.
- Befriend a military family in your neighborhood. Extend a dinner invite to get to know them better, or offer to host a playdate so they can run errands or take a nap! Need more ideas? Blue Star Families can help you find ways to connect.
- Say “Thanks a latte!” to service members, veterans, and their families this month. For every Military eGift sold 5/1-31, Starbucks will donate $5, divided evenly between Blue Star Families and Operation Gratitude, to support the mental health and well-being of our military community. Send an eGift.
- Volunteer from anywhere. Operation Gratitude provides opportunities for Americans to show their support for the military and their families from the comfort of their own home. From making paracord bracelets to letter writing, there are so many small, but impactful ways volunteers of all ages- in any place- can show they care. Share your time.
- Get crafty and deliver the comforts of home with Operation Gratitude’s Handmade with Love program. Knitters, crocheters, and other crafters can create items like hats, scarves, greeting cards, and more to be included in Operation Gratitude Care Packages The organization even offers virtual classes that will give you instruction, insight, and basic how-to’s. Express your gratitude.
- Display our nation’s flag at your home on Armed Forces Day (Saturday, May 21st). Then, take your support one step further by volunteering or donating to a nonprofit dedicated to supporting active-duty military and their families. Give today (here or here).
Every day, America’s service members — supported by their families — selflessly and courageously serve our country. Please join us in taking a moment this month to let them know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice in an effort to defend their health and well-being.