Despite the global pandemic disrupting every aspect of modern life, Birdies for the Brave has remained steadfast in its mission to honor and show appreciation to the courageous men and women of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families. To continue showing these American heroes how much their service and sacrifice are appreciated, Birdies for the Brave teamed up with military homefront charities Operation Shower and United Through Reading to create special virtual experiences for military families.
In lieu of Operation Shower’s signature over-the-top, elaborately designed group baby showers for military moms-to-be whose spouses are deployed – or for moms who are active duty themselves, the St. Louis-based non-profit returned to its roots. Due to concerns surrounding public health and safety during the COIVD-19 pandemic – especially for new and expectant moms, Operation Shower made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of Operation Shower events – but still provided these moms with their gifts as well as a fun, virtual shower experience.
“Operation Shower was created to honor all of the amazing moms-to-be on the front lines or those keeping everything together at home while their spouses proudly serve our country,” said Operation Shower Founder and Chief Shower Officer LeAnn Morrissey. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated what is already a stressful, uncertain milestone for these moms, and we are proud to continue showing them some love and appreciation through our B is for Baby box program.”
Since March, the group has hosted three virtual baby showers on Zoom – including one with HLN’s Lynn Smith; another with the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage, the Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes, and the PGA TOUR Wives Association; and a Mother’s Day shower hosted by the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation, with actress Daniella Monet participating. The online showers enabled the moms to share stories with each other and celebrate together during isolation.
United Through Reading has also adapted by hosting a virtual story time program in place of its physical story stations. Funded by Birdies for the Brave fundraisers and individual donations, the new free and easy United Through Reading app enables military members to record stories for their children from anywhere in the world, which can be incorporated into online learning and help children and spouses cope with military separation during these unusual, uncertain times. Recordings can also help engage children while their parents work, as well as help parents open up conversations about the big feelings children may be having about the current situation and change in routine. routine. Through the app, military families can request a free book to read and build the family’s home library. To get the app and begin the United Through Reading virtual adventure, parents can visit www.utr.org/app.