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Help our deployed troops

Take time to visit the sites below and find out what you can do to ease the burden on our deployed troops. Every bit of support counts and the links below provide a range of things you can do from care packages, monetary support of families, to just sending a message.

The commander of U.S. Central command is asking Congress for help in eliminating unsolicited mail to servicemembers. Read this AFIS bulletin about sending care packages to service members that you do not know. Note: Support sites below, like Attn: Anysoldier, ask that you recheck the address that you plan to send a package to, on the day you will mail. This prevents packages arriving where the addressee is no longer located, which puts undue stress on the military mail system. Be careful and don't cause some soldiers to ride a dangerous convoy out to a remote location, just to deliver a package that will have to be returned, over that same dangerous route. Remember USPS ends at our shores, the military takes it from there.

There are many ways to help jump right to: NE PA/ S Tier NY Troops, Send your own packages, Donate money or items, Donate Airline miles, Send electronic greetings, Donate money for larger troop support projects, Help wounded solders


If you know of any resources we do not have listed please let us know
Important information about addressing packages
Supporting The Troops Of Northeast Pennsylvania/ Southern Teir New York
Fairy Godmother Brigade We are a small caring group with approximately 50 individuals total, based out of Binghamton, NY – with volunteers joining us from across the United States. We have been sending monthly packages since November 2003 to as many as twenty units at a time – and will continue until our troops return home.
To date we have sent in excess of 1,200 large boxes to our troops – averaging over 1,000 pound per month. During the holiday season – thanks to our volunteers – we ship over 13,000 home made cookies.
Just in from Dawn: My group, supporting the troops of northeast pa, has just kicked off its fundraising campaign and this year, we've found a new way to raise money all year long. It's fast and easy for you to help me reach my goal! When you buy, renew or extend your magazine subscriptions on our online store, 40% of each purchase goes back to my group! Here's the site.
This is a local effort to support troops from the NE PA area. Dawn Rogers is heading up this effort. Here is a her story, in her own words and some corespondance she has received. They are asking for names and adresses of NEPA troops now deployed so that they can send care packages. They are also trying to provide "big brother/sister" type mentoring services for childeren at home, and even trying to help out around the houses of the deployed troops. Mow the grass plow the snow type stuff. They are collecting donations to support their sending care packages, and buying a dinner(at a local restaurant) for the families of returned troops. They have regular meetings, last tuesday of the month at the Perkings Restraunt (the Old Shadow Brook Dairy Bar) in Tunkhannock. They now have a place on our forum so that they can pass along current information. They ask that you take time to leave a message for the troops also. To find out how you can help contact 570-470-8391 or 570-836-1098.
228th Soldier-Family Support Organization The 228th Soldier-Family Support Organization, Inc. is dedicated to supporting the quality of life, welfare, and morale of B Company 228th Forward Support Battalion during their deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The organization was formed to raise money to be used solely and specifically for the basics needs of soldiers in B Company 228th FSB during their deployment.
Keystone Soldiers We are an interactive site to aid in the communication between deployed soldiers and their families as well as for the public to show their support for our troops. It is very easy to say we support our troops, it is another thing to show you support them.
We are a 100% volunteer non profit organization. All of your donation goes to our troops and their families. Through our site you can show your support by adopting a soldier (or platoon) or becoming a penpal.
Keystone Marines This is a new division of Keystone Soldiers that will be just for and about the United States Marines! It is very easy to say we support our troops, it is another thing to show you support them. We are an interactive site to aid in the communication between deployed marines and their families as well as for the public to show their support for our troops.
Send your own packages and letters directly to the troops Attn: Anysoldier New: This operation has expanded and now has over 700 contact points in the middle east for many different units. This effort started with Sergeant Brian Horn from LaPlata, Maryland, is an Army Infantry Soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Kirkuk area of Iraq who has a reputation for taking care of his soldiers. He has agreed to distribute the contents of any packages that come to him addressed "Attn: Any Soldier" to the soldiers who are not getting mail. Now the site has contact points for many different units.
Soldiers' Angels. Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Patti Patton-Bader, mother of Sgt. Brandon Varn, who recently returned home from a years deployment to Iraq. Soldiers' Angels is a national organization with members in all fifty states and Puerto Rico, and several friendly countries who support our brave men and women in uniform as they carry out their mission. Soldiers' Angels was was incorporated in the state of Nevada in June of 2003. Soldiers' Angels mission is to provide aide and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard and their amazing families. The slogan describes the motivation behind Soldiers' Angels. By working together and sharing a common vision of service, the volunteers of Soldiers' Angels send care to deployed soldiers and their loved ones at home.
Adopting A Soldier: Adopting a Soldier is the foundation of Soldiers' Angels. To Adopt a Soldier you must commit to sending one card or letter each week and AT LEAST 1 or 2 care packages a month. We have been told many times that this is one of the most important things we can do to help bring home a healthy hero. It is so very important for each of them to know that we care and support them and your letters and care packages will do just that.
Adopt a Platoon. This program requires specific commitments and is vetted. The AdoptaPlatoon Soldier Support Effort™ founded in 1998 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 and to promote patriotism in our schools and communities. To provide a better deployment quality of life, lift morale, and assist military families, the AAP created projects that meet the need of military requests, established special projects for holidays, and assigns individual morale lifting mail support to service members of all branches of the U.S. military serving their Nation around the world.
Americans Supporting Americans. The centerpiece of ASA's work is the Adopt-A-Unit Program. Believing that a strong, supportive connection between young men and women of our armed forces and the civilian communities they are ready and willing to serve is crucial to morale, ASA has committed itself to building and strengthening this link. By coordinating with both civic and community groups, ASA facilitates "adoptions" between towns, cities, or counties and individual military units throughout the country.
Big John Miska'S Adopt A Soldier. This site is dedicated to helping those who desire to support the wounded, injured, and ill troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Betesda Naval Hospital. Our efforts will coordinate the receipt of care packages sent to the hospitalized troops. Although all organizations like this can use financial help, there is another way to help. If you live within driving distance of Washington DC, they need drivers to help ferry wounded soldiers to events like VFW brunches, shopping, etc. If you can help with some driving, please contact Big John so he can coordinate these important tranport missions.
Ideas for what to send in care packages.
Donate money or items for packages sent by someone else SI Yellow Ribbon Campaign "SI Yellow Ribbon" is a completely volunteer and non-profit organization, formed by a small family in Southern Illinois. We are dedicated to filling needs and wants of overseas soldiers by sending packages, cards and letters. Since we formed in March of 2003 we have successfully sent packages to thousands of soldiers! What started as a "SI" (Southern Illinois) campaign has now grown to supporting soldiers originally from East to West coast serving overseas. We will be here as long as the need exists, but we need your help! We need to show them we still care!" You also can read an article about what got them started.
Help SSG Jerry Majetich Looking for a noble and honorable cause to contribute to? Try helping out one of our veterans, SSG Jerry Majetich, who was severely injured by an IED in Iraq, and because of the vast nature of his injuries, has not received enough healthcare to properly bring his life back to normal. It is very expensive so we urge everyone to please consider helping this valiant hero. There are few more worthy causes.
Packages from Home.org Packages from Home began as a mother's labor of love for her son, a soldier with the Army's 1st Infantry Division. Kathleen Lewis's son Christian was deployed to Iraq in March 2004. As any good mother would do, she began sending care packages to her son on a regular basis. She received a phone call from Christian, and was thanked for all of the comfort items from home, but she also found out that her son was the only soldier in his squad receiving any packages from home. At this point Kathleen decided to adopt his squad, she began shipping packages to the men in his unit. This is the point where "Packages from Home" was born.
The grassroots effort began to grow in leaps and bounds from November 2004. At this point, Kathleen realized that the amount of donated goods, and the money coming in to ship the items, was going to require her to apply for 501(c)3 status with the IRS. Packages From Home is now a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We are an all-volunteer group, formed for the sole purpose of providing food, personal care, seasonal comfort items and recreation items at no cost to the troops. None of us are paid, no one receives compensation of any sort.
U.S. Troop Care Package Founded on March 19, 2003, the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom and relies 100% upon volunteers, donations, and financial contributions from the community to send Care Packages to our U.S. Troops. "U.S. Troop Care Package" has recently become a Washington State Non-Profit Corporation and is in the process of filing as a 501-C3.
Operation Salami Drop Sponsored by Hobby's Delicatessen and Restaurant in Newark, is trying to send a salami to every soldier in the 42nd Infantry Division serving in Tikrit. That's about 23,000 salamis! Help bring a little bit of home to these brave troops. Your $10 donation can send a soldier a salami. ALL proceeds to go 100% to Operation Salami Drop. All salamis purchased for Operation Salami Drop will be at Hobby's cost!
Cool our troops Operation: Cool Our Troops was started July 2, 2003. Cool Our Troops is a non-profit effort to 'Cool' our troops in Iraq. We raised funds to send personal misters to military personnel serving in Iraq. The misters are portable, no batteries or electricity required, and rely on evaporation to cool surrounding temperatures by 20-30 degrees
Hugs Project This is website address for Karen Stark's operation to send "Hugs" (temperature reducing necktie like things) to the troops. You can buy things like this, but even better, here are some simple directions as to how to make them for your own care packages. Here is a diagramed description for how to make "hugs" at home, with easy to acquire materials. New they are conducting a contest, Karen says: "One of the guys they have helped, sent them an awesome picture and this week they're holding a caption contest. The winner will have a big care package sent to anyone they want (who's serving in the Middle East) in their name. What a great deal!!!" Their Yahoo group site is Hugs Project
Movies for Mosul. Mike Pietraszak is hosting a great web site to order DVDs for the 116th RAOC unit that my Eastside Republican Club has adopted. For security reasons, the 116th hasn't been allowed off base since arriving in Mosul in February. With the high temperatures now, movies are their main entertainment and a good library of DVDs is vital to defeating boredom in their off duty hours.
Operation AC NEW Operation Air Conditioner – a rebel with a cause.
Frankie Mayo
I am not a writer. I’m just a soldier’s mom who decided that when good people band together, anything is possible. In 2003, my son Chris served in Iraq with the 300th Military Police Company out of Ft. Riley. Along with him was his girl and future wife Kim, an M249 gunner, who served for 369 days in Iraq. They’re home now and their story is out there for you to Google.
My life was changed when an email from Chris arrived in 2003: “Mom can you organize and raise money to send us some air conditioners? It’s 143 degrees in my HMMWV…” Long story short, I did send some air conditioners—9,400 air conditioners to be exact. But that was before the people who are running this war stopped cooperating and made it nearly impossible to get air conditioners to Iraq. Until now. For over a month, we have secretly been sending air conditioners to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We did this to test whether what we were being told was actually true, that the air conditioners wouldn’t and couldn’t get there. What we found, instead, was that they got to their destinations. That tells us that the decision to block air conditioner shipment, because that’s what they’re doing, blocking the shipments, is being made by someone at the Pentagon. No doubt this someone is making decisions like this from the comfort of an air conditioned office.
Let me quote some emails I’ve received about this:
“…I will look into it. I do know several folks at dod are cautious about sending air conditioners.. it competes with other types of shipments...or so they say.”
” The competition is filling up the mail distribution with things as big as air conditioners. The folks here at dod often talk about the air conditioners and how difficult that was for the mail delivery system in country."
I would like to add that the boxes we ship the air conditioners in are within the size and approximate weight to meet the military shipping requirements. Despite this, we were told that we could not ship them via the US Postal System because of the “hazardous materials” contained in the air conditioners. After a bit of work, we found an alternative shipper in DHL who were happy to fly in our shipments.
I also took the extra step of asking if the Baghdad mail center would be able to accept them, and that is when I was told a very loud “NO!” I was told that the Baghdad mail center will not accept the air conditioners, period. Given what was said in those emails so plainly only proves that “they” think they know best for our guys on the ground in all things. Meanwhile, our troops are being bound in red tape with outsourced vendors who have to comply with contractual obligations whether it be processing the mail (KBR does that) or getting air conditioners to our troops.
With this said, I have spent the last month creating a delivery and logistics path right to the units themselves via private carrier. It takes money to do this and lots of it. While I can buy one air conditioner for $85, it costs me an additional $100 to send it. Yes, it may sound insane, but we have done it thousands of times over and here is why: Our government is getting air conditioners to our troops on the ground by “authorizing” the local people to sell them to them.
Why? Because KBR is only contracted to replace air conditioning units in the living spaces (trailers) and common spaces which they are contracted and nothing more. This means that there is a huge supply and demand issue. Our troops have great difficulty getting them, and when they do, the price is huge. As well, once they do buy them, they are left waiting and waiting for them to be delivered. This is going on while it is 114 degrees in the shade and our guys are in their full battle rattle sweating their behinds off. Literally.
Listen, I know there are some 250 organizations who send care packages and all sorts of stuff to our troops. I also know from being on the inside of this “America Supports You” effort that there are other organizations whose only interest is raising money, paying themselves fat salaries, and getting on TV and radio so they can tell everyone how much “good” they do for our troops. To me that is nothing more than getting fat at the expense of our troops.
We don’t do that. What we do is get the supplies that our troops need to them. Let’s talk about combat boots and medical supplies. We’ve sent over 7,500 pairs of combat boots costing over $465,000 and over $57,000 in medical supplies. No wonder the big wheels at the Pentagon don’t want to talk about us or give us a big corporate sponsor. If they do, it will expose them for who they are because we do things they are supposed to do.
Now, I don’t get into the politics of why there isn’t this or that and why the money that was supposed to go for it isn’t there. Other people are taking care of that. In fact, I have cooperated with and sent actual evidence to the DoD Inspector General’s office against KBR for what I found to be mischarging back in September 2005. I have the DCIS Form 14 here to prove it signed by the Special Agent. The evidence was mailed to me from Iraq on 19 September 2005 because those who did so trusted me to make sure it got into the correct hands. I will go into it in more detail at another time if my gracious mil-blogger hosts allow it.
My concern is our troops and to help them, we need to band together to get this done. The only and best way to do it is for us to buy them here in the USA and ship them by air freight via DHL Danzas Air & Ocean to Iraq and to Afghanistan. In other words, Operation AC is back where we started: getting sorely needed air conditioners to our troops.
On Friday, June 22nd we will begin taking sign-ups from S4s (unit supply personnel) and entire deployed units who are in need of the air conditioners. We already have many units on the ground asking, and our inbox is stuffed with several hundred emails. I asked the people who run this war to help me and they flat out told me, “NO!”(They’re very good at that.)
The question is will you help us do this again? We got those 9,400 air conditioners to our troops in the past by the Grace of God and supporters who believed in us. We know it will once again happen that way this time around.
So we are asking for your financial support. You can go to www.operationac.com and donate by clicking the PayPal button. Or you can send us a check—we are a 501(c)3 non-profit company and our federal tax ID is 02-0699201.
We’ve been here since 2003 sending supplies to our troops and we don’t intend to let bureaucrats in comfy, air conditioned offices at the Pentagon stop us now. If you can’t send a soldier on the ground something they can use, it is useless. Useless items like candy are “turning good Iraqi kids into brats” says my dear friend Mike Yon. Operation AC sends useful items.
Nothing is impossible because through God all things are possible. I pray that my fellow Americans answer this call and help Operation AC help our troops by doing what we do best—sending air conditioners, new combat boots, medical supplies, ACUs, ACH chin-strap systems, tourniquet systems, quick-clot, new socks, t-shirts, personal care items, Petzl headlamps, hand-held GPS systems and anything else they need or ask for because we find what they want and need and get it there. Period. That is our solemn duty to the troops.
Thanks for listening, I will get off the soapbox for now.
Mrs. Frankie Mayo,
Still a soldier’s mom and a rebel with a cause…
Operation uplink. Sends phone cards to deployed troops so that they can contact their families.
Operation Support Our Troops(OSOT) These folks are based in Washington State and focus support on units from that state. "This website is about our troops, for our troops! We are so indebted to the men and women serving in our Armed Forces for our safety and freedom that we dedicate this website to them! Thank you Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen!!"
Sponsor a USO care package. These are sent to deployed troops and contain requested items such as pre-paid worldwide phone cards, sunscreen, travel size toiletries. Sponsor ship cost $25 per package. You can donate online or via the mail. You can include a message with your package.
Donate Airline miles Operation Hero Miles Operation Hero Miles provides a way for you to help our troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan by donating your unsed frequent flyer miles.
Send electronic greetings AnyServiceMember.Org This site is about providing a way for people to continue the tradition of "Any Service Member" mail. An opportunity, if you will, to let America's military know how much you appreciate what they do on your behalf 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
NEW We learned from a Move America Forward newsletter of a call for support emails at the military blog, Blackfive, that Colonel Simcock of Regimental Combat Team 6 that their troops could benefit from some supportive notes from home:
If anyone -- you know, just sit down, jot us -- throw us an e-mail, write us a letter, let us know that the American public are behind us. Because we watch the news just like everyone else. It's broadcast over here in our chow halls and the weight rooms, and we watch that stuff, and we're a little bit concerned sometimes that America really doesn't know what's going on over here, and we get sometimes concerns that the American public isn't behind us and doesn't see the importance of what's going on. So that's something I think that all Marines, soldiers and sailors would like to hear from back home, that in fact, yes, they think what we're doing over here is important and they are in fact behind us.
Here's the email address to send supportive notes:
Post a message for our troops You can post a message for our troops on this site's Freedom's Heroes Forum. Note you do need to register with the forum to post a message.
Fan Mail for the Troops "The successor to Vietnam Mail Call. Now almost 40 years of service to and support of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. Supporting our troops at more than 1,000 places across the U.S. & around the world. We really spread it around!"
Donate money for larger troop support projects Operation AC These folks went through the ringer sending air conditioners to troops. Despite the normal obstacles and the US Post Office, they got it done. Now they are working on sending heaters. Rush Limbaugh reported on and praised these folks' efforts. They also have a program where you can adopt a soldier.
Cool our troops Operation: Cool Our Troops was started July 2, 2003. Cool Our Troops is a non-profit effort to 'Cool' our troops in Iraq. We raised funds to send personal misters to military personnel serving in Iraq. The misters are portable, no batteries or electricity required, and rely on evaporation to cool surrounding temperatures by 20-30 degrees
Commissary Gift Certificates Provide Gift Certificates For Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coasties or their dependents to use at their Base Exchanges through Give the Gift of Groceries! A new partnership between CertifiChecks, America's hometown gift certificate resource center, the United Service Organizations (USO), the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS), Fisher House Foundation, Inc., and the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) lets every American make a significant material contribution to the morale and well being of military personnel at home and across the globe.
Help wounded solders at Walter Reed Army Medical Center The American Red Cross at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is looking for incidentals/comfort items for sick and wounded Armed Forces Personnel now recuperating at the hospital. When someone is stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere and is wounded or falls ill, they are immediately evacuated, and it can take weeks for their personnel effects to catch up with them. The Red Cross is asking for donations of any of the following:
  • Telephone cards of at least 30 minutes
  • Rolling luggage (small), totes, carry-ons
  • Individually wrapped snacks
  • Magazines
  • Notepads, pens
  • Playing cards and games
  • Sweat pants and shirts (all sizes)

All items should be addressed to: American Red Cross, ATTN: Barbara Green, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Ave, N.W., Washington, DC 20307-5001.

Wounded Warrior Project : A project of United Spinal Association. United Spinal Association (United Spinal) is a membership organization that was incorporated in New York in 1947 under the name Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (Eastern). United Spinal Association continues to strive to be one of the nation's leading Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) by securing millions of dollars in care and services for paralyzed veterans who gave so much for our country. These services are now organized within United Spinal Association's VetsFirst division. Soldier Ride is an associated project.
Big John Miska'S Adopt A Soldier. This site is dedicated to helping those who desire to support the wounded, injured, and ill troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Betesda Naval Hospital. Our efforts will coordinate the receipt of care packages sent to the hospitalized troops. Although all organizations like this can use financial help, there is another way to help. If you live within driving distance of Washington DC, they need drivers to help ferry wounded soldiers to events like VFW brunches, shopping, etc. If you can help with some driving, please contact Big John so he can coordinate these important tranport missions.


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Abizaid Asks Congress to Help Stop Unsolicited Mail

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2004 -- The commander of U.S. Central command is asking Congress for help in eliminating unsolicited mail to servicemembers.

Army Gen. John P. Abizaid said military mail service is running at capacity, and he noted the propensity of America to be especially generous during the holidays.

"I would greatly appreciate your assistance in communicating to your constituents the challenges bulk donations from the public present," Abizaid wrote in a letter directed at Congress. The letter has been provided to congressmen inquiring about mail issues.

Unsolicited mail is no longer accepted because of the stress it creates on the military mail system and because of the possible threat it can pose to servicemembers. Programs like "Operation Dear Abby" and the "Any Servicemember" mail program were suspended on Oct. 30, 2002.

"As a matter of policy, the Department of Defense and United States Central Command generally discourage bulk donations because of the added burden on the DoD transportation and distribution system and the real threat of bio-terrorism and associated security concerns," Abiziad said in the letter.

The U.S. Postal Service no longer delivers items not addressed to a specific servicemember. If packages are left at a collection site and the sender can be determined, they will be returned. If no return address is listed, any care- package items will go to a local charity, a customer-service agent said.

Before images of Scrooge begin forming, there are other ways to support the troops. Dozens of organizations are accepting donations to put together care packages. They include the services' relief societies, as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Red Cross, Armed Forces YMCA and the USO.

Those wishing to support servicemembers through the USO, for example, have a choice of donation methods. That organization accepts donations through its Web site, by phone or in the mail.

Donations to the USO can be directed to one of several specific programs, including "Operation USO Care Package," which DoD endorses. Through the USO care-package program, servicemembers receive items that they have indicated they want or need.

The USO also runs "Operation Phone Home," using donations to buy international phone cards in bulk for distribution to deployed troops. A donation to the USO in general supports, in part, USO centers around the world that offer free Internet and e-mail, as well as a place to just hang out during down time. The newest such center is set to open in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Donors shouldn't feel that just because they haven't personally wrapped a care package that the donation is anonymous, as many organizations provide some method of letting troops know who is supporting them.

"If they donate online," Donna St. John, USO communications director, said, "they can include a message for the troops."

Abizaid commended the "admirable" efforts of the American people in demonstrating their support to the country's deployed servicemembers. He is, however, encouraging a refocusing of generosity so that the American military personnel get the maximum benefit of donated goods.



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