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Old 11-30-2011, 07:36 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
17,566 posts, read 21,741,355 times
Reputation: 44322

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As a family, we are looking for a way to bring joy and emotional support to our troops during the holiday season.

In my former state, my kids attended public school and we have always contributed to a program that provided calling cards, so that troops could call their families during the holidays.

I can't think of the name of this program, but their current school does not have this.

Also, I have heard that some charities are not on the up and up.

Does anyone know of a good one so that we can bring some cheer to a person who is serving our country?
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:43 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,633 posts, read 4,391,959 times
Reputation: 4213
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
As a family, we are looking for a way to bring joy and emotional support to our troops during the holiday season.

In my former state, my kids attended public school and we have always contributed to a program that provided calling cards, so that troops could call their families during the holidays.

I can't think of the name of this program, but their current school does not have this.

Also, I have heard that some charities are not on the up and up.

Does anyone know of a good one so that we can bring some cheer to a person who is serving our country?
"The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families."

www.uso.org

They are on the up-and-up and their entire purpose is to provide joy and emotional support.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Ohio
668 posts, read 1,844,152 times
Reputation: 806
Yea, but the Troops have to 'pay' for everything they get at the USO!!! Been there and done that!!
Reason why I only went there once, and never did again!! Stale donuts and bitter coffee and had to pay a premium price for them both. (My Dad, when he was in, told me about it, and, I had to see for myself, and I told him its still the same as when he was in).

I found out that those 'packages' that you mail to the troops, MOST never ever get there, and are pilferred by the people who are 'paid' to deliver them to the troops!!! And to think, I 'used' to donat to that also, but, never again!

I wish you well...

Jesse
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,721 posts, read 47,472,880 times
Reputation: 17560
Got spare food coupons? and want to assist military families in need? Food coupons are honoured and they are still 'good' for an additional 6 months beyond their printed expiration date, at all commissaries over-seas. Send them to:

Naval Support Act - Naples
Family Service Center
Attn: Food Coupon Drive
PSC 817, Box 10
FPO-AE 09622

Thank you.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:54 AM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
24,130 posts, read 38,859,608 times
Reputation: 28092
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodworkingmenace View Post
Yea, but the Troops have to 'pay' for everything they get at the USO!!! Been there and done that!!
Reason why I only went there once, and never did again!! Stale donuts and bitter coffee and had to pay a premium price for them both. (My Dad, when he was in, told me about it, and, I had to see for myself, and I told him its still the same as when he was in).

I found out that those 'packages' that you mail to the troops, MOST never ever get there, and are pilferred by the people who are 'paid' to deliver them to the troops!!! And to think, I 'used' to donat to that also, but, never again!

I wish you well...

Jesse
The USO has been helping America’s troops and their families for over 70 years and thousands of USO volunteers try to do a lot to provide a home away from home for troops and try to keep them connected to the families they had to leave behind. The USO is a nonprofit, non-political organization.

Sorry that you have to pay your way, and sorry you got a stale doughnut and bitter coffee... I remember sitting on a tarmac after crawling out of a C-141 after an 18 hour flight, glad to be back in my country, eating those doughnuts and bitter coffee. They just were not that stale and the Army use to make worse coffee. But I was among friends..

Jesse, the title of this this thread is What can we do to help and cheer our troops durring the holiday season? and no one is forcing you to help. But you have not really answered the original posters question. So keep that in mind...

Thank you in advance.


Rich

Last edited by Poncho_NM; 12-01-2011 at 10:03 AM..
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,721 posts, read 47,472,880 times
Reputation: 17560
USO is okay.

Sometimes they offer a washer/dryer for servicemembers who have not had recent access to clean laundry, phone booths, Internet connections, coffee [if it is stale dump it and make another pot, they are usually self-serve anyway], seating, magazines and often a used paperback novel rack for swaps.

Many international airports have a USO room.

The only USO club I remember being inside was the one in Naples Italy. I visited it a few times from 1997 to 2001. I think it was terrorist bombed in 1988. A year after the Barcelona USO was bombed.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:03 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 19,120,969 times
Reputation: 6171
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
Does anyone know of a good one so that we can bring some cheer to a person who is serving our country?
The main thing to consider is are you trying to send something to the troops or are you trying to contribute to sending things to the troops?

The cost of you buying something to send is ususally much more than the cost an organization can get items to be sent. You also have to know that not everything is usable to troops overseas and often times have to be reallocated to state side units or donated to veteran or other charities. Many times groups collect itms but have no real way to ship them so they end up in large consolidation warehouses were contractors and volunteres must figure out how to distribute these items. What you think may be going to some unit in Iraq may well end up with some unit in Japan. You may think that sending some case of water to service members in Iraq is needed but reality is they never reach a transport and is used locally or given way.

So what do you do?
First only donate items to sponsored groups. groups with sponsorships have already coordinated the collection, packaging, shipping and distribution of the collected items. They also know what is acceptable and not. They usualy put out request for specific types of items sot hey are collectiong what is needed, not just what a person feels good at donating. When you donate an wanted item to them, you are reasonably assured that they already know where its going and that the item is needed. They may be working with many particular military units that are deployed.

Second, understand that volume purchasing enables organizations to purchase much more for every dollar than a ordinary person can buying it themselves. So think about if you want to spend $10 for an item for a single person or donating that $10 which may buy 4 of the items in bulk and reaches 4 people not just 1. Often when you donate money, they can pool it togther with others to get enough of certain items instead of one thing here, one thing there. manytimes they work with other grouops to help supply missing items to make for a well rounded care package.

Third, consider donating to organizations that have established processes for creating care packages. These groups use the donated money to buy items and create care packages based on feedback from the service members and based on needs supply to them. Their goal is to create enough packages so every service person service gets something.

Some groups that have a good track record are:
Operation Gratitude
Operation Troop Aid
Adopt a Platoon
and my favorite Operation USO Care Package

The Billy Blank Foundation targets troops is war zones only if you want to make sure the donations are going to troops in war zones.

You can contact Operation UpLink which gives calling cards to troops.

Of course, you can always contact the militray units in your area and see if they have troops deployed and if so, when are they doing a collection. By giving direct to the units for distribution, you know where its going and what is needed.

The main thing to avoid is the general generic Feel Good events because half the time, they have no idea what to do with the stuff after they collect it. They collect stuff for the troops that have no real value to the troops or are restricted. Just because it seems like something yuo think is needed doen;t mean the militray or their contractors are going to absorb the cost of shipping junk.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:08 PM
 
110 posts, read 245,092 times
Reputation: 50
Hi,

Have you looked into supporting the Wounded Warriors Project? Also check out the Fisher House. The last one I will mention is much smaller but a VERY dedicated and legit group. They are The Hugs Project out of Oklahoma City.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
8,015 posts, read 8,078,833 times
Reputation: 4728
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodworkingmenace View Post
Yea, but the Troops have to 'pay' for everything they get at the USO!!! Been there and done that!!
Reason why I only went there once, and never did again!! Stale donuts and bitter coffee and had to pay a premium price for them both. (My Dad, when he was in, told me about it, and, I had to see for myself, and I told him its still the same as when he was in).

I found out that those 'packages' that you mail to the troops, MOST never ever get there, and are pilferred by the people who are 'paid' to deliver them to the troops!!! And to think, I 'used' to donat to that also, but, never again!

I wish you well...

Jesse
My son and his guys have gotten every single package we ( and others) have sent them.......OP, if you want, PM me and I'll get you his units contact info.....He is currently deployed as a MNNG Chaplains Assistant and If he can't use what someone sends he know someone who can!!!!
Thanks for your concern for our deployed loved ones!!!
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:08 PM
 
11,987 posts, read 10,678,285 times
Reputation: 9898
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
As a family, we are looking for a way to bring joy and emotional support to our troops during the holiday season.

In my former state, my kids attended public school and we have always contributed to a program that provided calling cards, so that troops could call their families during the holidays.

I can't think of the name of this program, but their current school does not have this.

Also, I have heard that some charities are not on the up and up.

Does anyone know of a good one so that we can bring some cheer to a person who is serving our country?
Thank you so much, sheena, for asking. At this stage of the war, most Americans have quit even paying attention. It's nice that there are still people out there who care. As an active duty soldier who will be in Afghansitan next Christmas (this year is my year with my family ), I appreciate it.

In my opinion, care packages are still the best. It doesn't even really matter what you put in them, if you pack something and include a card or a note from you or your children saying that you are proud of the job we're doing over there, some soldier, sailor, marine, airman, etc. is going to appreciate that. Just let the troops know they aren't forgotten -- that Americans are still thinking about them. That's about the best thing you can do for morale, especially around the holidays.
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