A year in review Deployed Love Fort Benning
Our year started out a bit slow with the Covid-19 pandemic hitting right after we had completed our initial training. As we navigated the new challenges this year brought us, our Fort Benning Team still met and started planning the best we could through Zoom and other socially distanced meetings. We decided to start out with, when and where, but that seemed to be a bit difficult to solidify with not knowing how the state guidelines would be constantly changing.
We then began to open up our volunteer and photographer applications in July to try to build our amazing team of volunteers (& Santa). We were taken back by some of the responses we got as a non-profit trying to find people to freely donate their time but we also understand that this is a very busy season for everyone (even when not in the middle of a pandemic, that caused many issues and hardships for people).
Even through these tough times we were able to build our team of 14 wonderful volunteers. Enabling us to finally open our sessions to families of deployed service members and fulfill our goal of 30 accepted applications.
We initially had the idea to drive from house to house, taking photos of each family on their own front porch. But given that our event would be at the end of October that seemed to be a bit difficult logistically and we decided to change our event location to a nearby park. Unfortunately for us, the state guidelines changed again and that was no longer an option 3 weeks before our event. Thanks to the unbelievable workers at the MWR’s Uchee Creek Campground we were able to find this new location located just outside the back gate of Fort Benning. Uchee Creek’s manager and personnel were incredibly accommodating, making us love the beauty and privacy of the location even more.
The day of the event then held its own challenges with weather and lack of cellphone service. Our team pulled all our resources together and brought every tent we owned. With the rain being unforgiving we considered rescheduling but with it being so last minute we pushed through the weather and did our best to make accommodations for our photographers, families and Santa.
All in all we ended up with a wonderful event, even if we were soaked through to our socks by the end. None of this would have been made possible if it were not for our sponsors, volunteers and families who supported our Deployed Love organization. A huge thank you to all our volunteers and their families for their help, we saw some amazing spouses come out to help set up and take down props, as well as allowing us to steal them for a whole Saturday so close to the holidays.
Thank you to the families that braved the “storm” with us, we are thankful for all you do. Thank you to our Sponsors who gave us the resources to get our volunteers lunch, T-shirts, small gifts and those who donated to all our families. We were so incredibly blessed with all donations and support we received in our first year.
We cannot wait to see what the next year will bring us!!!