There are many ways to support the heroic efforts of military soldiers abroad and at home. For some, paying tribute comes in the form of writing letters, donating supplies to soldiers and military families and raising funds for wounded vets who need medical assistance.
For others, honoring vets is about making a statement. Find out how Americans are declaring their respect, patriotism and support of the courageous troops who protect our country.
Want to support the troops? Here’s a list of ways to do it:
1. Help Kaylee Radzyminksi show ’em you care– send CDs and DVDs to troops serving overseas. For more information, visit tunes4thetroops.org.
2. Troops in the field use silly string to help locate explosive devices. Send donations to: Marcelle Shriver/St. Luke Church/55 N. Warwick Rd./Stratford, NJ. 08084
3. Here’s a great way to remind the troops that they’re appreciated: Through Operation HomeFront, send the troops a care package loaded with essential goodies.
What to send: Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc.), used CDs and DVDs, books, snacks (no perishable or liquid items), board games, letters and phone cards.
Where to send it: Northeast High School / 3701 Trenton Road / Clarksville, TN 37040 / 931-648-5640
4. You can send your personal message of support to troops via e-mail to email@example.com. It may appear in print in “Stars and Stripes”– a newspaper distributed to the troops overseas.
5. The Fisher House organization provides inexpensive lodging at 23 military and Veterans Administration medical centers for families of injured service members. For more information visit fisherhouse.org.
6. You can make a difference at home by volunteering your time and compassion with a Veterans Administration hospital. It’s a great way to say “thank you” for their service. For more information visit the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
7. One detail that many troops often overlook is what to do with their pets while they’re away. This is where you come in. You can take their pets into your home through an organization called the MilitaryPetsFoster project. Military personnel are matched with caring foster homes that’ll look after their pets until their safe return. (Sorry, you can’t keep them.) Get all the details here.
8. Teen Shauna Fleming started a campaign to collect a million thank-you letters to send to forces around the globe. She and a team of volunteers collect and sort thank-you letters and even CDs and DVDs to send to the troops. To learn how you can be a part of a million thanks, go to the Web site.
9. Support the troops’ humanitarian efforts with Operation Crayon. AdoptaPlatoon and Army soldiers serving in Bosnia founded the project in 1999. Military units adopt needy schools or orphanages in places such as Bosnia, Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo and provide them with much needed supplies. You can help by sending some of these winter clothing, toothpaste, toothbrushes and school supplies. For more information visit the Web site.
10. Help those serving overseas phone their loved ones back home by donating to Cell Phones for Soldiers, an organization that gives troops prepaid calling cards. You can donate cash or old cell phones and/or phone batteries that are then recycled and sold for money to buy the calling cards. For details on how to help troops stay connected, check out Cell Phones for Soldiers.
11. Donors buy gift certificates that can be redeemed by troops’ families at various stores. Donate at commissaries.com.