Volunteers deliver holiday cheer, thanks to military spouses

Posted December 2, 2016 6:15 p.m. EST

— When soldiers deploy, military spouses are left behind to pick up the slack and take care of their families, and volunteers at Fort Bragg took time Friday to thank them and say "Merry Christmas" in a big way.

"We thank you for all you've done so much, for all you've done for all of us," volunteer Pat Lancaster said as she dished out hugs and gifts to military spouses and their children.

The Christmas Care Packages for Military Spouses, the only program of its kind in the country, was sponsored by Military Support and McDonald's.

A military spouse for 30 years, Lancaster said she knows the sacrifices they make.

"I think that they don't realize how much they're the wind beneath their husbands' wings, and if it weren't for them, their husbands wouldn't be able to go out and defend our country like they do," she said.

Amber Torres was among the 1,200 spouses and their children who were honored at the event.

"This is the first time I've actually done this, and I think it's amazing, amazing," Torres said. "I've never seen a post take care of kids and the families like they do here."

When soldiers deploy, spouses become mothers and fathers. Some hold down jobs outside the home, and all of them keep the family going.

"It's so nice that they just do all this outreach program. It's so sweet," Juliana Gutierrez said. "We do go through so much stuff. Our husbands do as well, but it's hard sometimes, especially when you have the little ones at home and especially when my husband was supposed to deploy."