With the holidays approaching, thousands of Americans are again asking what they can do to show their support for servicemembers, especially those serving overseas in this time of war. Below are Web sites for several organizations that are sponsoring programs for members of the Armed Forces overseas. While it would be inappropriate for the Department to endorse any specifically, servicemembers do value and appreciate such expressions of support:
Donate a calling card to help keep servicemembers in touch with their families at Operation Uplink at http://www.operationuplink.org/
Send a greeting via e-mail through Operation Dear Abby at http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/ or www.OperationDearAbby.net
Sign a virtual thank you card at the Defend America Web site at http://www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html
Make a donation to one of the military relief societies:
Army Emergency Relief at http://www.aerhq.org/
Navy/Marine Relief Society at http://www.nmcrs.org/
Air Force Aid Society at http://www.afas.org/
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance at http://www.cgmahq.org/
Donate to"Operation USO Care Package" at http://www.usometrodc.org/care.html
Support the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services at http://www.redcross.org/services/afes/0,1082,0_321_,00.html
Volunteer at a VA Hospital to honor veterans who bore the lamp of freedom in past conflicts.
Support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals through a donation to the Fisher House at www.fisherhouse.org.
Reach out to military families in your community, especially those with a loved one overseas.
Please do not flood the military mail system with letters, cards, and gifts. Due to security concerns and transportation constraints, the Department cannot accept items to be mailed to " Any Servicemember ." Some people have tried to avoid this prohibition by sending large numbers of packages to an individual servicemember's address, which however well intentioned, clogs the mail and causes unneccessary delays.
The support and generosity of the American people has touched the lives of many servicemembers, over 300,000 of whom are deployed overseas.