Hope For The Warriors is partnering with Remember Everyone Deployed to create a new, fun and informative event for spouses and families of deployed service members.
The informational event will take place 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 25 in Jacksonville.
The event is designed to remind those left behind while their loved one is away that there are resources available and support, Hope for Warriors Community Development Manager Raquel Painter said.
A dozen vendors will be on hand Saturday to not only provide information on how they can help families, but also to provide something fun for the kids to do.
Painter said she challenged each vendor who wanted to be a part of the event to come up with something that would be entertaining as well.
“I am surprised how people really got creative with it,” she said. “They didn’t want to just be another resource booth. They said, ‘We’re going to come up with a great event.’ Even the supporters are really excited about putting something new together.”
The vendors will have activities for the kids so that if the spouse wants to spend a little time learning more about the resource, they can without worry that the children will be ready to move on, Painter said.
Painter hopes the no-pressure event will encourage spouses to come learn about how the community they live in is ready to help at a moment’s notice, before they need it.
“A lot of times when the spouses are in the community they don’t realize the support that is available to them until they need it and sometimes when you need it it is in a stressful situation and you can’t remember who you spoke at the pre deployment brief,” she said. “We hope this event will bring them out when they are comfortable and at their own leisure. They can go to a resource without being in the stressful situation and without reaching out to 10 different people to find the right one.”
Hope for Warriors social media coordinator and spouse of a deployed service member, Kristy Swartz said the event is important to help create a common link between the resources and support, and those with a loved one deployed.
“It is nice to have events like this because often times when you have a spouse deployed it is easy to feel alone and keep to yourself,” she said. “It is nice when you can come together. The Marine Corps is a very unique community that takes you away from your family but does a good job of creating a new one.”
The free event is a good opportunity to not only know what is available within the community but to also potentially make personal connections with other spouses, Swartz said.
The event will also remind the community the importance of RED, or Remember Everyone Deployed, Fridays, she said, as well as encouraging support for the families dealing with a deployment.
“We do have Marines and sailors leaving all the time to protect our country,” Swartz said. “Bring back RED Fridays, even though people may not think a war is going on.”
No registration is necessary, and the event is free.
For more information, email Painter at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 571-730-0113.