Many, many young military families live their life on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis. If this government shutdown happens--which it rather looks like it will--there are going to be families hurting quickly. The military community needs to be ready to help them right away. The last thing we want is to have our deployed servicemembers worrying about how their families are going to eat. They need peace of mind to do their jobs and get home safely to their families. We can help give them that if we all band together.
I hope that everyone reading this has a little nest egg from which to draw for a little bit if the budget debate can't be settled. We (we being those of us who have been around long enough to have learned our financial lessons and gotten our feet under us) need to remember what it was like to see less than ten dollars--or even a negative number--in the account on the 14th of the month. Remember how embarrassing that could be (or maybe just imagine, if some of you were more money savvy than was I!). It's going to be difficult for some of these families to admit they need help.
If, however, you find yourself in a tight spot please know this: you are not alone. There are thousands of military families going through the same thing and many more who understand what you are going through. Here is a list of organizations that exist solely to aid military families. At the top of the list you will see links to each individual branch's organization. If you need help, please contact them. Do not be embarrassed. You are not alone.
I can't imagine that this is going to last long. I may be incredibly naive to believe that, but I truly believe that something will get slipped through soon for military at least. It would be unconscionable for the government to allow our military families to suffer through an extended time frame with no income. It simply isn't right.
Let's agree to keep an eye out for each other over these next few weeks. Make contact with your fellow spouses. Offer to trade childcare with people. Invite some of the young families over to dinner and make sure they are managing. Bake some goodies and send them into the office with your spouse. (Hey, the sugar will temporarily raise morale, anyway.) Maybe we can use this difficult time to pull our military family close and get to know each other better.
If you have any specific suggestions for how to help our younger troops, please leave them in the comments. If you write/have written a post on your blog covering this same idea please leave the link in the comments. I know I could use some more specific ideas on how to help; I'm sure others could too.