Looking for ways to support and honor U.S. military servicemembers and veterans who protect our security and freedom? In years past, you could wrap up a care package and mail it to "Any Service Member" for the holidays, but with increased mail restrictions, the Pentagon is asking people to help through financial contributions, letter-writing and e-mail, purchasing authorized pre-made care packages, or volunteering time through non-profits.
Below are links to programs that offer aid to our military -- everything from care packages to emergency services to military family support. Show your pride in our armed forces today, either by purchasing a gift or card for a servicemember, or donating to programs that support our military.
- Cards, Letters, Gifts and Care Packages
- Health Care, Hospitalization, Hospice, and Recovery
- Transition, Scholarships and Vocation Rehabilitation
- Counseling, Community and Other Relief and Support
- America Supports You
Important Note: Walter Reed Army Medical Center officials want to remind those individuals who want to show their appreciation through mail to include packages and letters, addressed to "Any Wounded Soldier" that Walter Reed will not be accepting these packages in support of the decision by then Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy in 2001. This decision was made to ensure the safety and well being of patients and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense.
In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is no longer accepting "Any Service Member" or "Any Wounded Service Member" letters or packages. Mail to "Any Service Member" that is deposited into a collection box will not be delivered. Instead of sending an "Any Wounded Soldier" letter or package to Walter Reed, please consider making a donation to one of the more than 300 nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping our troops and their families listed on the America Supports You website.
The following charitable organizations help send gifts, cards, and care packages to our troops:
Adopt a Platoon - Support the troops through gifts and sponsored mail.
Any Soldier - Sponsor care packages to servicemembers in Iraq.
Blue Star Mothers - Organizes postcards to troops and care packages, and is currently petitioning Congress for reduced air fares for servicemembers.
Books for Soldiers - Donate books, movies, and more.
Cell Phones for Soldiers - Donate your old cell phones, which pay for calling cards for our troops.
Commissary Gift Certificates - Give the gift of groceries -- buy or donate gift certificates.
DefendAmerica - Send a virtual thank-you card.
GI-Bracelet.org - Buy a bracelet to support the troops, and contribute to a fund of your choice.
A Million Thanks - Collects emails and letters of appreciation for our armed forces.
Operation Air Conditioner - Help pay for air conditioners and heaters for the troops.
Operation Gratitude - Contribute to care packages sent to our servicemembers.
Operation Homefront Hugs - Contribute to care packages, or adopt a servicemember.
Operation Troop Aid - Provide care packages for our deployed U.S. Servicemembers.
Operation Uplink - Donate a calling card to help keep servicemembers in touch with their families.
Operation USO Care Package - Sponsor a care package for $25.
Help with Mailing Packages
Instructions on Sending Mail to Servicemembers - Straight from the U.S. Postal Service, instructions and recommendations on sending individual mail to servicemembers.
American Red Cross Armed Forces - Offers medical services to active duty, veterans, reservists and families nationwide.
Angels of Mercy / No Soldier Left in Need - Donate clothes to wounded soldiers returning stateside, or donate to long-term rehabilitation programs
Armed Services Blood Program - Donate blood that will be sent to areas of need around the world.
Blinded Veterans Association - Volunteer and scholarship organization provides care and support for blind veterans and their families.
CAUSE: Comfort for America's Uniformed Services Elite - Provides comfort items for troops recuperating in military hospitals and rehabilitation centers from wounds and injuries.
Fisher House - Support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.
VA Voluntary Service - Volunteer to help care for wounded veterans.
The Walter Reed Society - Walter Reed Society helps provide for the needs of many returning injured servicemembers and their families.
USO - Donations to the USO pay for hospital support for recuperating soldiers, USO entertainment tours and other important services.
These organizations provide transitions services, scholarships and vocational programs to help servicemembers and their families re-integrate in to the civilian world.
The Freedom Alliance - Organizes donations and contributions for our servicemembers, and also awards scholarships.
Operation One Family - Helps provide life skills, education and continuing support for the families of our fallen military heroes.
Operation Purple - National Military Family Association (NMFA) volunteer program provides educational camps for military children.
Soldiers' Angels - Support group aids wounded Soldiers with transitional backpacks, personal visits, and phone calls, etc., and also sends thanks via letters and email to the U.S. military and its allies.
The following organizations provide a wide range of services and support for our troops and wounded veterans including counseling, financial support, housing, emergency services and more:
Air Force Aid Society - Official support and relief organization for Air Force servicemembers, veterans, and families.
The Armed Forces Foundation - Provides support and education help to our troops.
Armed Forces Relief Trust - Combination of the major military relief societies takes donations to help servicemembers.
Armed Services YMCA - Provides educational, recreational, social and religious support to the military.
Army Emergency Relief - Official support and relief organization for Army servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance - Major support and relief organization for Coast Guard servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Enduring Freedom K.I.A. Fund - Gives financial aid to families of servicemembers killed in action.
Fallen Patriot Fund - Accepts donations to send to families of those who fell in combat.
Freedom Calls Foundation - Contribute to videoconferencing facilities that put servicemembers in touch with their families.
Freedom Fund - Send letters of thanks to the troops, or donate to funds that support deploying servicemembers.
Global War on Terrorism Veterans In Need - Provides support programs for returning disabled servicemembers.
The Home Front Cares - Provides support for the Pikes Peak Region's military families of all services by distributing funds, goods and services to needy families.
Homes for Our Troops - Assists injured veterans and their families by building new or adapting existing homes for handicapped accessibility.
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund - Fund provides unrestricted grants to the families of military personnel who have given their lives in the current operations in defense of our country.
Military Pets Foster Project - Nationwide network of foster homes cares for the pets of deployed personnel.
Navy/Marine Relief Society - Official support and relief organization for Navy servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Operation Child Care - Provides child care services for the families of Reserve and National Guard members.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation - Provides college scholarship grants, financial aid and educational counseling to the children of Special Operations personnel killed in an operational mission or training accident.
The Survivors of Servicemembers SOS Fund - Provides funds to families who have lost a loved one in Iraq.
Unmet Needs - Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) program donates money to help with military families' financial necessities.
Veterans and Families - Sacramento, California-based organization is building support services for returning veterans.
Veterans of Foreign Wars - Features a full range of veteran services and advocacy programs.
Wounded Warriors Fund - Donates everything from phone cards to TVs to wounded soldiers.
"America Supports You," a nationwide program launched by the Department of Defense, recognizes citizens' support for our military men and women and communicates that support to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad.
All across America, thousands of individual citizens, businesses, and groups - from local schools and establishments to nationally-known corporations and organizations - are hosting events and undertaking projects to support America's Armed Forces, especially in forward-deployed areas of the Global War on Terrorism.
The support of the American people builds and sustains the morale of those fighting to defend freedom against the tyranny of terrorism, and communicates America's recognition and appreciation of their courage and commitment to our country.
America Supports You spotlights what Americans are doing all across the land, encourages others to join the team, and allows all to tell their stories by giving voice and visibility to their efforts.
The official launch of the America Supports You program commenced with kick-off events during November 2004. Subsequent events occurred in various regions of the country to honor and recognize citizens' support for America's Armed Forces.
All events and information will be highlighted on this America Supports You website that allows participants to register and be recognized, share their stories of support with the nation and the troops, and download program materials for distribution and dissemination. Military members can access the web and learn about America's support for their service.
The America Supports You Dog Tag, emblazoned with the America Supports You logo, is the official emblem of the program, and serves as a visible force multiplier in projecting the message that America supports our military men and women.
More information on the program/how to register is at AmericaSupportsYou.mil.
MISSION SERVE will activate people engaged in volunteer and military service across America to more closely coordinate our civilian service and military communities, enabling each to strengthen the other and, ultimately, to strengthen our nation. The initiative partners the ServiceNation coalition’s community service organizations with veterans groups, military family groups, and active-duty and reserve components of each military branch. These partnerships will more closely integrate service to country with service to community, and will help grow the service movement that is critical to America's future success. Bank of America is proud to support MISSION SERVE as a means of enhancing service opportunities for military and civilians.