Best Practices | For Communities | Dinner for Families of Deployed

Dinner for Families of Deployed

Description: Dinner for Families of Deployed (DFD) provides a casual weeknight environment for families of deployed military personnel to relax, have an enjoyable dinner, and keep the kids occupied with crafts/child care while the adults have some time together.

•  We meet monthly from October through May, on the second Tuesday night from 5:15-7:00 pm in the chapel Assembly Room or Fellowship Hall.

•  We reserve the kitchen, Assembly Room or Fellowship Hall, and a meeting room/lounge.

•  Chapel funds pay for the child watch-care. Child watch care involves two rooms; infants to three years.  The guests just show up and have fun.


•   Meet with your senior chaplain to share the vision for this installation-wide military family ministry, and to involve the entire chapel community, (i.e. Protestant, Catholic, etc.)

•   Make it clear to the chaplain that you would like to be the volunteer POC for this ministry under chaplain leadership.

•   Secure budget support for the dinners, crafts, and Childcare. (Budgeting is often in the spring prior to the next fiscal year.)

•   Plan to purchase the dinner entrée each month from a local restaurant doing significant military business.  Make purchases ONLY AFTER Purchase Order approval!  (In austere times, you can cook and serve a meal on a budget of $50 to serve 50-60 people.)

•   Schedule the chapel rooms needed and put dinner dates on the chapel’s official calendar.

•   Recruit a volunteer leader from the other congregation(s) to work together to provide the dinner.  The key leaders recruit other volunteers from the Parish Council ministry group leaders and from the PWOC & CWC.

•   Ask your Credit Union or Bank marketing person to print flyers and provide the kids’ craft supplies. That person may also want to lead the craft time.

•   Recruit a wife whose husband is deployed (or was recently deployed) to share how her faith helped get her through the deployment. (Seek someone who is “grounded in Christ” and meet with her privately to have her review her ten-minute presentation with you.)

•   Be creative. Invite people from agencies on the base who have something important to share BRIEFLY (10 minutes) with spouses (i.e., education center, financial counselor, community services, coupon shopping, etc.)  Share the ministry vision with the volunteer leadership team at least two months before the first dinner.

•   Advertise in various chapel bulletins, the installation newspaper, Public Affairs Office, throughout the installation via email, etc, and other appropriate locations throughout your military community. Use all available methods for publicity.

•   Arrange tables & chairs to make it easy for family members to get to and from their chairs. (Think about baby strollers!)  Invite your chaplain to welcome the guests and ask the blessing to start each dinner.

•   Clean up the rooms and restore tables and chairs according to chapel Standare Operating Procedure (SOP).

Resources Needed: Meeting place; dinner entrée and balance of meal; condiments, table decorations, paper goods & plastic utensils; and child watch-care.

Questions or Comments? Ask the experts by using the pop-out tab at the right.

Mike And Carole Carkhuff


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