By Titus Ledbetter III, Belvoir EagleOctober 31, 2013
Fort Belvoir's Family Readiness Group will sponsor a Nov. 7 roundtable at the Army Community Service building to discuss its holiday assistance programs.
The event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon, according to Carol Janer, FRG program manager. ACS' holiday assistance program, Operation Sugarplum, will provide gift cards to Families of servicemembers and Department of Defense civilians to help get through the holiday season. The roundtable is intended specifically for FRG group leaders and unit representatives, as well as personnel from local organizations that help military Families.
Janer said she will provide information on Operation Sugarplum and other local assistance programs during the Nov. 7 roundtable.
"Lots of these young Families don't have any idea how much stuff is out there for free for these Families, and what an opportunity you have here in the capital region to take advantage of these things," she said.
The purpose of an FRG is to strengthen the resilience and morale of Soldiers and their Families. Most FRG volunteers are members of military Families. FRG leaders are responsible for taking concerns from Soldiers and Families to unit commanders, who then provide information back to military Families through the FRG.
The roundtables give group leaders information about resources for military Families. FRG leaders also help military spouses prepare for emergencies.
At the end of each roundtable, the leaders have 15 minutes to share information and raise new issues. About 25 people generally attend the roundtables, Janer said.
Operation Sugarplum participants are chosen based on financial need by military unit leadership, Janer said. They receive gift cards for both food and gifts for their children. The program receives support from donors.
ACS will also host a party for the Families of deployed Soldiers in early December. Care packages will be provided, along with homemade cookies and they will also be able to take Family photos during the event. Santa will also make an appearance. Janer will discuss this event at the Nov. 7 roundtable.
She will also talk about other assistance programs at the roundtable, including one sponsored by the USO. Military Family members should only participate in one of the available holiday assistance programs, to ensure that there are enough resources for everyone, she said.
The Dec. 5 FRG Roundtable will be a party, in appreciation of the efforts of the organization's volunteers. It will provide recognition for the volunteers, who are dedicated people, Janer said.
For more information about the FRG, contact Janer by calling (703) 805-5683 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.