Volunteers Do Yard Work for Military Families

by | Nov 22, 2021 | Deployment Survival, Resources, Save Money | 0 comments

There I was—eight months pregnant with baby number three, pushing a lawn mower through our yard in the afternoon heat of a muggy July day in North Carolina. I had tried to hydrate before coming out into the heat, but I could feel my strength fading when I was only half-way finished with the yard. I wiped away the sweat and kept walking.

Mowing was never my favorite chore, and that summer it became the one I dreaded. I felt trapped. My husband was deployed to Afghanistan, and with no family around, I was the only adult responsible for all household tasks—including mowing the yard. Of course, I would have preferred to do it during a cooler part of the day. But with a 3-year-old and a toddler underfoot all the time, the safest time to do it was while they were napping. That was, unfortunately, the hottest part of the day. I tried to do it once after they went to bed, but I was too tired by then, and couldn’t finish before it got dark.

Military Spouses Sometimes Need Help with Yard Work

As I pushed the mower across our front yard, a neighbor walked by on the sidewalk. She stared at me for a moment, then waved me to stop. “You shouldn’t be doing this right now!” she said. “Aren’t you due next month?” I nodded, panting and sweating, but explained that since my husband deployed, I didn’t have anyone else to mow our yard. “Yes, you do,” she said with a smile. “You have me. So you go sit on the porch with some water, and I’ll finish this up for you.” By the time I had guzzled a tumbler of ice water, I was feeling less faint, and she had completed mowing the yard.

Before she left, she told me, “I don’t want you to mow any more this season. Next week, I’ll send my husband or son over to mow it for you in the evening.” She was true to her word. For the rest of the summer, the neighbors pushed our mower for me. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, which allowed me to focus on the many preparations for giving birth alone during deployment. Of course, I thanked them and offered to pay, but the neighbors told me they were just happy to help and support a family with a Marine serving in Afghanistan.

I’m so grateful for the generosity of those neighbors over a decade ago. And I’m not sure what I would have done if they didn’t offer to help. I might have stopped mowing and just let the grass grow ridiculously tall… or I might have continued pushing myself until I passed out and risked harming the baby. Either because I was proud, or because I didn’t know where to turn, it never occurred to me to ask for help.

I wish I had known then about Project EverGreen and GreenCare for Troops!

Project EverGreen Supports Military Families During Deployments

Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops program is an incredible network of volunteers—in all 50 states—who do yard work for free for military families with a deployed service member. At the time my husband was in Afghanistan, I had no idea this program existed. But now I know more about the wonderful service they provide to families going through deployment. Who knew there were volunteers out there, with lawn equipment, ready to help military spouses like me?

If you are in need of yard work assistance, you can request a range of outdoor services, including mowing, trimming shrubs, aeration, fertilizing, perimeter pest control, mosquito control, spring clean-up, leaf clean-up, and snow removal. (The snow service is called SnowCare for Troops). This is especially important to think about as you prepare for the upcoming season. Can you handle the outdoor tasks on your own? Or would you appreciate an extra set of hands? Project EverGreen will search for a volunteer in your area and match you. They will continue to help on the property for the entire length of the deployment!

You can learn about Project EverGreen from their website, or register for the free program here.

Volunteers Do Yard Work for Military Families During Deployment

Who Can Use Project EverGreen?

There are a few restrictions which are important to note. The program used to be limited to families of E-6 and below, but it is now open to families of ALL military ranks–based on need. The lot cannot be larger than one acre, and the family must be living there during the deployment. Anyone, including a family member or friend, can fill out the request for services. But the military family must provide deployment orders or a letter from the unit command to verify their eligibility. These restrictions are in place so that volunteers can use their time effectively and benefit families who need it most. Most volunteers are motivated by a desire to serve the families of those who are serving our country, so Project EverGreen screens applications to make sure they maximize their impact.

If you are facing an upcoming deployment, reach out to the volunteers at Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops to help you with the yard work. You don’t have to struggle outside on your own! You can put in a request up to four weeks ahead of the deployment. Knowing you have help with such a big chore will be a huge relief.

This post is sponsored by Project EverGreen.

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