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Support the troops this holiday

Far away from home, close to our hearts

Soldiers stationed in Iraq from the 1st Cavalry division in Fort Hood, Texas, hold up a sign that says “Will work for packages.”
Operation Military Pride
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Wondering what you can do this season to support our troops? Below are a list of links on how you can bring cheer to America's Bravest serving overseas.

Send them care packages:

  • The United Service Organizations Inc. is running Operation USO Care Package, delivering care packages to U.S. troops around the world. A $25 donation buys a care package that includes, at minimum, a prepaid worldwide phone card, sunscreen, travel size toiletries, disposable camera and a message from the donor thanking them for their service and sacrifice. To donate, visit the USO Web site at www.usocares.org or call (877) USO-GIVE.
  • Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit organization that sends care packages to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Korea, Africa, Kuwait, Bahrain and to ships in all regions. The packages contain food, toiletries, necessities, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation.

Treats for the troops:

  • The nonprofit organization Treats for Troops is another ongoing program designed to help every American send packages and messages of support to our men and women in uniform year round. The website includes several online Gift Shops where contributors can choose from dozens of themed packages or hundreds of individual items, all selected after lots of input from soldiers and family members. If you don’t actually know someone serving overseas in uniform, the organization’s “Foster-a-Soldier” program can provide a match.

Write them 'thank you' notes:

  • Operation Dear Abby offers a free way for the public to send thanks and greetings to American troops via e-mail.
  • You can also sign a virtual thank you card at Defend America.

Write those who might not get letters from home:

  • In 2003, Corporal Brandon Varn Bardnon wrote home expressing his concern that some soldiers did not receive any mail or support from home. So, his mom contacted a few friends and extended family to ask if they would write to a soldier or two.  Within a few short months, The Soldiers’ Angels Foundation went from a mother writing a few extra letters to an Internet community of over thousands.

Help them call home:

  • Operation Uplink keeps military personnel and hospitalized veterans in touch with their families and loved ones by providing them with a free phone card. 
  • Voices From Home gives soldiers and their friends and family the opportunity to send and receive voice e-mail messages to hear the actual voices of their loved ones, regardless of the schedule difficulties, in remote locations around the world, according to the site. The messages can also be saved, allowing them to be replayed whenever the receiver wants.

Help them fly home:

  • Operation Hero Miles is asking for people to donate their frequent flyer miles to help soldiers on emergency leave get home. Soldiers are sent home on emergency leave in the event of a family death, birth, illness or other emergency. Operation Hero Miles hopes to easer the financial burden soldiers face when having to pay for the high-priced last minute airfares needed to connect to their hometowns. Participating airlines AirTran, Alaska, American, Delta, Pan Am, Southwest and United have received 140 million miles—enough for more than 5,600 round trip flights, the organization says.

Help them help Iraqi kids:

  • Operation Give coordinates the collection and distribution of toys and other items for Iraqi children. After years of tyranny and war, the children of Iraq have almost nothing and are very grateful. With each toy soldiers give to a needy child, they put a smile on their face and hope in their heart. You can send your own toys, buy toys on the website, buy items from Internet retails, or donate money. 

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