‘Tis the season for caring and sharing. As we muddle through the time honored traditions of our own holiday arrangements, let us not forget the men and women who have taken it upon themselves to defend our freedoms. Below are 10 simple ways to support our troops this holiday.
10. Send a Card
While filling out and sending your own Christmas cards this year, take an extra moment and fill one out for a wounded vet recovering at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The address is:
A Recovering American Soldier,
c/o Walter Reed National Military Medical Center,
8901 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20889-5600
**Update: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is asking that anyone interested in sending cards this year support the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes.
9. Buy a Cup of Joe for a Joe
Green Beans is a coffee corporation that has simplified the giving process. For as little as $2, you can bless a deployed service member with a short note and cup of coffee. An additional bonus is that Green Beans fosters pen-pals. With each cup of joe you buy, Green Beans offers you a chance to opt-in to become a pen-pal. If the solider opted-in too… well there you go- coffee-mates!
8. Support the USO
The USO is probably the highest rated military charity around. In their own words they are “A nonprofit, congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities. The USO is not part of the U.S. government, but is recognized by the Department of Defense, Congress and President of the United States, who serves as Honorary Chairman of the USO.” And those words are true.
The USO not only serves to entertain our troops while they are deployed oversees, they try to make military life as comfortable as possible. The USO has programs ranging from supporting the families of our fallen heroes, to providing language lessons for troops that will deploy to hostile countries, to sending care packages. And that is just a fraction of what they do.
7. Adopt a Soldier
There are several organizations out there that allow families to adopt a soldier. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at during the holidays it can be at any time. An adoption consists of writing frequent letters and possibly sending a care package or two a month.
6. Join a Letter Writing Team.
Don’t have enough time to donate to adopting a soldier? No worries, Soldier’s Angels has come up with a solution. They have a letter writing program in which you sign up for a day or days of the week in which you receive up to 3 soldiers names and addresses. Then all you do is write a letter. This provides extra support to a deployed soldier.
5. Fly the Flag
Flying the American Flag on your house, adding a flag decal to your car, or tying on a ribbon to the tree out front, helps keep military service men and women from being forgotten. It serves as a public reminder that while we are here enjoying our freedoms, someone is working hard to defend them.
4. Participate in a Local Military Charity Drive
Chances are that church down the road, or that organization setting up shop near the bank is doing so in remembrance of local home town heroes. As long as you can identify the charitable group and you can donate items in good faith.
3. Buy a Meal
You can buy gift cards to local restaurants and leave them for our uniformed service members. Just let the person at the counter know that the gift card goes to the next service member they see. Or you can have the gift cards sent to the local armory to be dolled out to a service man or woman who is in need of a lunch.
2. Check In
While troops deploy families are left behind. Check in on a military family to make sure they are alright. Nothing promotes peace of mind better or faster than knowing their loved ones back home are being cared for.
last but not least
1. Show Your Respect & Say Thank You!
Even if you do not agree with our nation’s foreign policy, these men and women are doing what their country asks of them. When you see a person in a military uniform, it’s okay to approach them and say, “Thank you for serving our country.”