Volunteers team up to help encourage spouses of deployed military members

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Spouses of Team Shaw's deployed service members came out to the Carolina Skies Club at Shaw Air Force Base on Monday for free home cooking during a deployed family dinner.

Event organizers sought help hosting the dinner, and volunteers did everything from holding a baby while a mother walked through the serving line to providing free child care for the duration of the dinner.

More than 100 people attended the dinner. Deployed spouse dinners started in 2008 at the chapel annex with a couple dozen spouses and dependents and are now held the fourth Monday night of each month at the Carolina Skies Club.

"I really enjoy how friendly and supportive everyone is," said Marci Spruiell, wife of a deployed service member. "I really appreciate everyone who helps put these events together. Other people going out of their way to do something nice for others; there's not much of that anymore."

Food comes from the home kitchens of a local church or from members of organizations who volunteer their time to show their support to Shaw's airmen, soldiers and their families. A team of volunteers serve the meal and offer crafts and activities for the children.

The dinner brings spouses together to network, talk to commanders, first sergeants, key spouses, chapel staff and support agency representatives. The kids get to release their energy jumping in a bouncy house or other fun activities.

"I'm very satisfied with the turnout for the dinner," declared 1st Lt. Douglas Dixon, 20th Fighter Wing chaplain. "With loved ones down range, deployed dinners give spouses an opportunity to build a solid network between one another during difficult times."

Call the Shaw Air Force Base chapel at (803) 895-1106 for more information or to volunteer for upcoming deployed family dinners.