“The holidays without you are the worst.” I sulked as I grumbled through a terrible and pixelated video call with my husband. “I’m so over this deployment.”
He couldn’t really say anything encouraging, other than “I’m sorry, babe. I wish I could be there.”
The holidays can be difficult to deal with when our spouses have boots on the ground somewhere else. We are left to juggle our emotions, our children’s stress, and the weight of unending responsibilities – along with the Christmas shopping, card mailing, and cookie swapping.
Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming, and as if our contributions go unnoticed. We “soldier” on through the thankless tasks and trials, without skipping a beat (well, maybe one or two). We hold on tight and hope that we can survive the holiday season, dreaming for moments of joy to sneak in between the sandwich of anxiety and exhaustion. All the while, we are missing our significant others and wishing we could share those joyful moments with them.
Then, one morning, I received an e-mail from Full Circle Home. I think my husband meant this e-mail to go to his account, but because we have a joint e-mail account, I got a sneak peak at what he had in store. He had signed up for me to receive a FREE box filled with 12 individually wrapped gifts – for the Twelve Days of Christmas. The e-mail confirmed that his order would ship out, and that they have unclaimed boxes for spouses, encouraging referrals.
Being a military missionary, I had to reach out and personally thank the Founder of this beautiful organization. I was so grateful for her hard work and efforts in connecting military families during deployment. As a result, I had the most amazing interview with Vickie Durfee, the Founder and lead volunteer for Full Circle Home.
What is Full Circle Home?
Full Circle Home is a not-for-profit organization that connects deployed service members with their loved ones across the country and on bases around the world. Since 2007, Full Circle Home has helped over 21,000 troops send their holiday gifts and love notes to their Heroes at Home. The simple act of giving a gift with a hand written note can bridge the gap between our troops and those who support them. The troops share with us how deserving their loved ones are. These gift packages allow them to express their gratitude and recognize the sacrifices made by those at home and are a daily reminder of the love of their service member and the appreciation of sponsors across the country. This connection provides encouragement and support for both those at home and those overseas, because the whole family is affected by a deployment.
How did this project start?
“It all started with a mother’s love. My son asked me to send a gift to his girlfriend while he was deployed through the holidays. When I did, I could hear the smile in his voice This gift goes both ways. That year, my son was a squad leader in charge of twelve marines, and I thought I can take care of twelve people. So, after asking around, within 2 months, we had 150 people that wanted to help us serve. People want to thank our service members and support their families at home. This is how we can help.”
What do you hope Full Circle Home will ultimately accomplish?
We want to empower people to love military spouses, to make a difference. But, more importantly, we want to help military marriages thrive through connection. Each box includes a handwritten note with words given by the service member. It is so important that spouses are reminded of how much they are loved and appreciated by their service member.”
What comes in the box?
The boxes are hand-curated with top quality items that spouses will love. We want the gifts in the box to reflect about how we feel about the spouse community. The gifts in the box are all about serving the spouse. They aren’t for the kids, or the house, but for the spouse that has been working to hold down the home front. It’s a hug from every which way – their service member, from us, the manufacturer, and the hands that wrapped them. The boxes aren’t from us, or the sponsors, but from the one that loves them most- their service member.
How does a service member sign up for a box?
Full Circle Home works predominately works with deployable units before deployment. We want to make sure that no spouse is left out, so we work directly with the units to ensure that all of the deploying members are aware of the gift boxes. The FRG, FROs, Chaplain Corps, and other unit representatives can reach out to Full Circle Home. Or, Full Circle Home will reach out to deployed units to connect. Secondly, we have sent Full Circle Home forms out to local points of contact on bases, posts, or even ships. Lastly, servicemembers can reach out to our website here and sign up for the gift box.
There are only a few rules:
- One per service person
- First come first served basis
- Adult women’s gift sets only
- U.S. and APO/FPO addresses only
This year, Full Circle Home will distribute 1,250 boxes, with 100 going to the Walter Reed Medical Center.
The last thing that Vickie shared is that she wanted to “grab these spouses up and tell them that they are not alone.”
During the holidays people and organizations, like Vickie and Full Circle Home, make all of the difference in bringing joy to those of us that are holding down the fort!
Megan Brown is a seasoned military spouse and military missionary. She is the Military Liaison for the Speak Up Conference Global Missions Military Scholarship and the 2019-Armed Forces Insurance Robins AFB Military Spouse of the Year. She is passionate about military mission work, teaching and preaching about Jesus in and out of the local church. She lives in middle Georgia with her husband, Keith, and their energetic kiddos. She is a Bible teacher, speaker, and freelance writer. To learn more or connect with Megan, visit www.meganbbrown.com.