For the tearful, stressful, and memorable days that come when a CAF member deploys, the Greenwood Military Family Resource Centre (GMFRC) has put together Deployment Survival Kits for the military spouses, partners, and families in their communities.
The idea behind the kits, according to Julie Courcy, community engagement co-ordinator, is to ensure family members “take a moment just for themselves, to take care of themselves.”
She added, “The idea is not for the entire family, but really to focus on the person who is holding down the fort, the person that is behind at home while the member is at work. It’s really about the grownup who gives everything for ‘everyone left behind.”
Each kit includes:
- A mug
- Box of tea
- Lollipops, because deployments suck
- Kleenex for teary days
“You cannot experience a deployment without having chocolate,” noted Lori Lundy, co-ordinator of deployment services.
The kit also includes:
- A custom-made journal
- A Pen
- Lava beads bracelets handmade by GMFRC staff
- A copy of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
“They are not random. Each item in the kit has been specifically chosen to represent something,” said Courcy.
All the goodies are placed in a photo box so families can collect their memories and focus on the positive. Each kit also includes information on mental health support and MFRC and deployment support.
The GMFRC received a grant last year from True Patriot Love to put together the Deployment Survival Kits.
“It was very generous of them to give us the amount of money that would allow us to prepare 200 kits,” noted Lundy.
The GMFRC also received support from local businesses like CANEX, Heather’s Independent Grocers, and Shoppers Drug Mart.
The kits were completed and launched in early October, and in a few short weeks, the MFRC has already distributed 20 kits.
The gesture has notably moved the spouses and partners receiving the kits.
“At our recent deployment supper, we were given deployment boxes. Opening them, I was floored. It was exactly what the spouse of a deployed member, needed. Myself, this is the first time my spouse has been away since the birth of our daughter, Olivia, in April. We are also newly posted to CFB Greenwood. To receive this gift was amazing. Every single item was thought out, from the mug, tea, and even the book “Don’t sweat the small stuff”… Very fitting!
“It let me know there is this community we are apart of. When my husband is away, it can feel isolating, but this made me feel anything but. Thank you so much to True Patriot Love and the GMFRC,” said military spouse, Krystal McClure.
For Lundy and the GMFRC, the kits provide them an opportunity to show how much they care for their families by giving them something they can take home for all the challenges deployments might bring.
“From my perspective as the deployment coordinator to me, it’s a really touching gesture. We do a lot for our families. But I always feel like to go above and beyond what is “normal” and to be able to provide something very special that’s specific to those who are experiencing a deployment is very touching. It comes from a place of the heart. Just being able to see the reactions on people’s faces when they get a kit, it means a lot because it’s meaningful,” said Lundy.