FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Being a single parent can become overwhelming at times, especially when combined with the challenges associated with Army life, but Army Community Service does what it can to help make things a little easier for single parents.

Through a Fort Rucker Community Health Promotions Council Social Resiliency Work Group initiative, ACS hosted its Single Parent Family Game Night Dec. 8 at the post exchange food court where single-parent families were invited to enjoy a night of board games, food and fun, according to Joy McCormick, ACS new parent support program social worker.

"We wanted to do more for the families of our single parents, so we thought of several different options of what to do. The game night seemed to be a big hit every year, so we decided to do this for them," she said. "We invited them to come out, sit down, and enjoy each other's company and play board games with each other. This is great because it promotes family interaction and the socialization is really good for the families."

For one of the parents, Misty Smith, the night was a welcome event that she was able to bring her children to for some good, old-fashioned family fun.

"This gives my children a chance to mingle with other children," she said. "When they're at the house, they act like they don't like each other, but when they're here there are extra things they can do, and they get the chance to interact with other students and children.

"I appreciate this and I love the programs that they provide, especially the ones we're able to be a part of," she continued. "I really enjoy it, plus they feed us, so I give them two thumbs up."

Staff Sgt. John Payne, B Company, 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment, is also a single parent who attended the event, but did so as a volunteer. Payne's son lives with his mother in Washington State, so he knows firsthand the difficulties of being a single parent and decided to offer up his time to help other families.

"I just want to be able to help out other single parents because my boy isn't here right now and I know what it's like," he said.

Food and beverages were provided by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, and family members were also provided with a free board game to take home, as well as movie vouchers for a free movie at the post theater, said McCormick.

Although the free gifts are a nice way to show family members that they're appreciated, it's the services and time spent that is the real gift they're able to provide, added the social worker.

"I think a lot of times, especially during this time of year, a lot of things are family oriented, and sometimes with the military you can get so busy that there aren't a lot of activities for single parents, so we want to make sure to be able to do something special with them and allow them this fun time together," she said.