Operation: Military Kids (OMK)
HERO PACKS –
EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES TO HONOR AND SUPPORT MILITARY CHILDREN & YOUTH
If you or a community organization that you know of is interested in participating in an OMK Hero Pack project with your community, please select Get Involved in the left menu to connect with your State OMK contact for more information.
Hero Packs serve as a tangible expression of support for Military Families from their communities and OMK Partners. Hero Packs are filled by non-military youth and community organizations with mementos and items designed to help keep military kids connected with their deployed parent. They are a way to hand-deliver a salute to military children and youth for their strength and sacrifices while parents are deployed. A Hero Pack project involves local non-military youth groups and/or community organizations in a valuable community service effort that demonstrates thanks and support from their peers in the community.
An OMK Hero Pack project (for more details see the OMK Hero Pack Guide) consists of three elements: an appreciation element, a content element, and a support element.
The Hero Pack as a whole serves as a salute and token of thanks to a military child experiencing the deployment of a parent. Hero Packs include a handwritten letter of thanks and appreciation from a local non-military youth, a collection of family support materials, communication tools, and fun items the recipient can enjoy with their siblings, remaining parent/relatives, or friends.
National OMK Hero Packs come in a “Standard” and “Young” version. Although National OMK may provide sling packs, many states choose to make their own Hero Packs as another way to involve non-military youth and community organizations. Local non-military youth and/or community organizations solicit items and then pack them into the Hero Packs. Items included in the Packs should be a balanced collection of family support materials, communication tools, and fun items the recipient can enjoy with their siblings, remaining parent/relatives, or friends. The most important item of each Hero Pack is a handwritten letter of thanks and appreciation from a local non-military youth.
Parent Pouches are also included in all OMK Hero Packs and are an important collection of information for the parent of the recipient. Parent Pouches are filled with local resource and referral information, OMK Partner information, local youth programming information, etc. that can assist military children and families during this stressful deployment time.
OMK Partners work together in a variety of ways to create networks in communities across America to support geographically dispersed Military Families. Time is spent during the Hero Pack assembly process learning about the importance of supporting military children and their families and discussing additional ways to provide support personally or as a group in your community in an on-going manner.
Hero Packs Make a Difference:
- My son loved the blanket … and Zoey loved the backpack and all of its contents. It really lifted her spirits and I could tell she took in the importance of what her dad is doing. She felt very special, and the cards that the children wrote help to identify her as a brave and unique kid, they put her situation in a positive light and from a point of view of another child – that made a difference. Please thank the group that created the Hero Packs and let them know how they helped our family. Michelle, WI National Guard
- Yesterday at school my son saw another boy with the same Hero Pack sling bag. Before that he felt he and his brothers were the only ones with a deployed Soldier at his school. Now he doesn’t feel so alone. Joan, NE Military Spouse & Parent