Last week, I printed up copies of the following list of 10 Ways to Support the Troops and went and stood outside the local mall to hand them out, before going by the local VA to visit with and thank some vets. Anyway, here's the list, which I compiled from the resources offered on the website of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which everyone should check out.
1. Any Soldier
Sergeant Brian Horn from LaPlata, Maryland, was an Army Infantry Soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Kirkuk when he started AnySoldier to help care for his soldiers. He agreed to distribute packages that came to him with "Attn: Any Soldier" in the address to the soldiers who were not getting mail. Sgt. Horn is no longer in Iraq but AnySoldier continues and has expanded to include all branches of the Armed Services in harms way.
Books For Soldiers is a soldier support site that ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soldiers and soldiers in VA hospitals.
The AdoptaPlatoon Soldier Support EffortTM is a nonprofit 501C-3 organization managed nationwide by volunteer mothers to ensure that deployed United States Service members in all branches of the military are not forgotten by providing needed mail support.
Soldiers' Angels is dedicated to making sure no troop goes unloved. It was started by a mother whose son requested letters for fellow Soldiers while oversees. You adopt a Soldier, make personal visits, send needed items, or other needed things. The organization also provides support to families of military personnel who are oversees.
Operation Helmet provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to those ordered to deploy in the near future. In addition to providing enhanced blast protection, the helmet upgrades are much more comfortable and stable than the 'strap/sling' suspensions that generally come with standard helmets.
Operation Comfort's mission is to create a nationwide network of mental health providers and agencies to donate their services, free of charge, to family members who have a loved one serving in the Middle East.
Homes for Our Troops, Inc., is a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation that builds specially adapted homes for our disabled veterans of war.
More than half of the brave men and women who have given their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere have left behind a spouse or children. These families must now face their future without a husband or wife or father or mother. In addition to their grief, many of them must also address the questions of finding work, where to live, how to raise their children, how to provide for their education, and even how to get food on the table.
Operation Uplink is a program that keeps military personnel and hospitalized veterans in touch with their families and loved ones by providing them with a free phone card. Operation Uplink uses contributions to purchase phone cards and distribute them to servicemen and women who are separated from those they care about.
Operation Homefront was created to channel volunteer support to help the families of deployed military personnel. With hundreds of thousands of service members deployed for war with Iraq, and countless others around the world fighting the war on terrorism, thousands of spouses and children are left behind, many in need. Operation Homefront is there to support military families while their loved ones are deployed.