WEST PALM BEACH — Over the last year, families all over the world have been tested – emotionally and physically – by COVID-19. Frontline workers like our U.S. service members have not stopped throughout this pandemic and this service takes a toll on them as well as their kids. That’s why during this April’s Month of the Military Child, celebrating and supporting military children is more important than ever.
“All members of a military family serve, including military children who often experience frequent moves, multiple schools, parental separation and, in some cases, the loss of a parent,” said Heidi O’Sheehan, Director of Service to the Armed Forces and International Services. “At the American Red Cross, we know that support for military families as a whole helps develops strong, resilient military kids.”
Throughout this last year, U.S. military families have faced personal hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Military children across the country have experienced extended separation from parents due to extra-long deployments, military spouses have lost their jobs resulting in financial insecurity, and whole families have been separated from their extended support systems even though life has not paused during the pandemic. In light of that, extra support has been needed to safeguard military kids and families from the added emotional, financial and physical stress felt by many.
Here in South Florida, military kids and parents can find a variety of resources through the Red Cross to get additional support:
• Virtual mental wellness courses offered by mental health professionals are available for kids and parents to combat feelings of stress. A variety of courses are available to help military families connect during this difficult time, including tips for service members on how to smoothly reconnect with their children when they return from deployments and planning for how to manage extended periods of separation.
• Families facing financial hardship can apply for financial assistance through the Red Cross in conjunction with the Military Aid Societies by calling the Red Cross Hero Care Network toll-free at 1-877-272-7337 or by contacting their local Red Cross or visiting.
• If a military child or spouse experiences an emergency, they can send an emergency message to the deployed parent to alert them through our Red Cross Hero Care Network by calling toll-free at 1-877-272-7337 or by downloading and sending a message through the Red Cross Hero Care App.
Former military spouse and mom-of-two Melissa Allen shares, “I tear up every time I think about the Red Cross. Yes, I’m resourceful but I would have never been able to get all of the information I needed for my family. The Red Cross is the nucleus of knowledge for me - they always offer support.”
What you can do
If you are a military mom or dad that is seeking support for your family, we encourage you to connect with us by visiting our website at redcross.org or by calling us at 1-877-272-7337. You can also learn more by downloading the Red Cross Hero Care App, available for all devices.
If you would like to volunteer to help support military kids and parents in need, please visit redcross.org/volunteer to sign up.