It’s donation time for Netroots for the Troops, the time where we band together and make sure the troops know they are appreciated. It’s time to dig deep into your pockets to see what you can share for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in harm’s way. If you’ve reached into your pockets and found only lint, a heartfelt letter of kind words would mean the world.
I can’t stress enough how important this effort is, how much difference a care package from home can make for a soldier who’s half a world away from home, who’s scared, who may have lost friends there, who may have seen unimaginable scarring events, and the thought of standing on US soil again might only come in their dreams.
That’s where you come in. And I’m looking at you, and you and...whoa! Have you checked a mirror today? Dig as deep as you can, I’ll try to explain why it matters.
My son’s in the military, and received a Netroots for the Troops care package last year. It was Matt’s second tour in Iraq; his first was January 2004 through January 2005. I found part of an interesting e-mail from his first tour:
"The weather really sucked when we first got here. The summer days were like anywhere from 110 – 145 during the day. Add that plus our body armor and our uniforms and it makes for a miserable day. Plus when we first got here our trucks didn’t have air conditioning. It would get to 165 degrees in the truck. It was nothing to lose about 10 pounds in a 2 hour mission. You would have to drink 5-6 1.5 liter bottles of water a day."
Imagine how a little Tang or Crystal Light might taste in one of those bottles of water. Netroots for the Troops came through on that, and I thank you. And someone from Netroots for the Troops added scarves for the soldiers’ faces to keep sand out. This is what riding in a sandstorm in Iraq looks like.
Thank you for the hankies he used to cover his face with. Very thoughtful.
Another part of the same e-mail reads, "It’s really hard to find stuff to do around here to keep your mind off what you have to do out there." When I read that sentence, I’m reminded of cskendrick’s diary Netroots for the Troops - Sending Hope:
So one evening, he made sure to get home the only certain way available that his despair would allow him to see. I can’t say if a few more cookies or a magazine would have mattered.
Yet this was not an especially troubled kid. Quite the opposite. And he perished by his own hand regardless.
Netroots for the Troops provides these items, and I thank you.
Matt’s most recent tour lasted for 15 months. He wasn’t in Iraq, but did missions there, sometimes a few a week. He called me one night walking through the streets of Baghdad during a difficult time there. He had the phone minutes from Netroots for the Troops, and I thank you.
When Matt got the care package last year, he was living in a cargo container with three other soldiers. There were enough items in the package that he could share with his buds, which meant so much to him. The Netroots package had a lot of practical items. His MOS requires him to be around metal. Did I mention it was hot in Iraq in the summer? The Mechanix gloves came in very handy. I thank you.
Some might wonder about the baby wipes. A very important item. Some soldiers go days without a shower. Thank you.
Inside the Netroots for the Troops care package that Matt received were all kinds of goodies, from drink mixes to CDs, movies, books, super "cool neck ties", snacks, games, the oh-so-nice Mechanix gloves...But you want to know the best thing in that box? It was care. Tangible proof that someone, a bunch of strangers from the homeland, spent time organizing, asking for donations, gathering the items, packing them, and making sure they arrived at his APO. He and his buds were sent a lot of goodies that day. In that box, perhaps not noticed by you guys who put it together, was heartwarming proof that they are appreciated. You Kossaks sent them a box of compassionately made, sorely missed, heartfelt gratitude for the troops.
And I thank you!
Our goal for Netroots For The Troops 2009 is $50,000.00 (cash or in-kind donations).
We realize that you would like to donate something tangible to go inside the packages that will be mailed to the troops. Unfortunately, accepting in-kind donations from individuals is not practical in terms of storage and handling of the items. The Pittsburgh Convention Center is a union shop so we have more stringent rules that need to be followed. Instead, we will only be accepting corporate donations or cash from YOU to purchase items for the care packages this year.
Here’s how YOU can help:
- Please contact TexDem or VeloVixen if you know someone who might be helpful in securing the corporate in-kind donations. To help you think of companies who could donate products, see below* for a list of potential items. Put your thinking caps on and let us hear from you. It takes time to get through the corporate processes so we need to hear from you ASAP!
- We are accepting cash from individuals and
begask that you DONATE HERE to contribute to this worthy cause. Your donation will enable us to purchase the things that we are unable to obtain through corporate donations, and will help to pay the costs of shipping them to our troops. This year your donations will be tax deductible, thanks to Netroots Nation and their partner Netroots Arts and Education Initiative, a California 501(c)3 corporation.
- Sign up for a diary! Our goal is to post two diaries per day until NN09. That’s a lot of diaries! Don’t worry---we’ve made it easy for you. We’ve got a template set up, and all you need to do is add a small introduction telling us why you are donating, sharing a story of someone you know who has served or is serving, or any other thing you want to share that might help motivate others to donate. Please contact politik if you are interested in posting a diary.
- Do you know a service member who would like to receive a care package? Email a request to: NFTT.email@example.com before July 31, 2009.
Please include all of the following information. Unfortunately we will not be able to process any incomplete requests:
APO Address Line 1:
APO Address Line 2:
APO Address Zip:
- Write letters to be included in the packages! Our own jlms qkw is collecting the letters and will print them out and bring them to Pittsburgh. Just email your letter to her firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for more information from jlms qkw soon. If you need some ideas, rbutters wrote an excellent diary with tips on how to write letters to troops and why it’s so important to them.
- Help us assemble the packages in Pittsburgh. It's fun! More information will be forthcoming for those of you who are going to be in Pittsburgh and would like to help there.
- Please consider joining the NFTT FaceBook Group. Invite your FaceBook and non-FaceBook friends.
*The following list contains some of the things we would like to include in the packages. Please let us know if you know someone who might be helpful in securing these corporate in-kind donations. (Please DO NOT send these items yourself! We have no way to accept them. Instead, your cash donation is the very best way to help make this happen on the ground in Pittsburgh.)
- Baby wipes
- Mechanix gloves
- Language translation books or CDs (Rosetta Stone as an example)
- LED flashlights
- Gel shoe insoles
- Goop Cleaning Gel
- Powdered energy drinks
- Gel energy food packets
- DVDs and CDs
- Letters to the soldiers
- More suggestions coming soon
Books for Soldiers
Soldiers love to receive books, but due once again to the logistics of collecting and storing them prior to NN09, books will not be included in the packages that NFTT will put together this year. Other organizations are more specialized in the collection and distribution of books to Iraq and Afghanistan. If you are interested in sending books, please consider checking out the Books for Soldiers Website. It is run by DKos's very own StormBearand is a great resource for giving.
Important Note about Successful Online Donations
PLEASE DONATE HERE
When you make your online donation, the screen indicates that you are donating to Netroots Nation. This is the right screen! Rest assured all donations WILL go to NFTT. If you wish, feel free to use the comment area provided to note that your donation is intended for Netroots For The Troops. It isn’t necessary to do this however, as this is the only fundraising activity being conducted for Netroots Nation at this time. For further information about online donations, please read TexDem's diary on the subject.