|Operation USO Care Package
Delivers Needed Items and Personal Messages to
Service Members Deployed Overseas
You, Too, Can Show a Service Member You Care
|With thousands of U.S. troops deployed around the world, still actively engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom and the fight against terrorism, the United Service Organizations (USO) is offering a unique way for individuals and corporations to let our nation's defenders know we haven't forgotten them. Operation USO Care Package, sponsored by the USO World Headquarters and administered by the USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro), enables individuals to write a personal message and financially support care packages that will be delivered to service members participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.|
|Because of heightened security, individuals can no longer send letters and packages to 'Any Service Member.' Operation USO Care Package is approved by the Department of Defense, providing a safe, easy way for individuals and corporations to show their prayers and thoughts are with our men and women in uniform.|
|Corporations may also contribute to this program through financial contributions, items donated in bulk for the care packages, or through implementation of an employee participation program. AT&T is a major supporter of this program, providing a complimentary toll free number for individuals to call for further information (1-866-USO-GIVE) and donating thousands of prepaid international phone cards to be included in the packages for the troops. Our men and women in uniform give so much to the country, we wanted to give something in return as a token of our appreciation that would allow their separation from their loved ones to be a little easier, according to Paul McQuillan, Defense Sales Vice President, AT&T Government Solutions.|
|These Care Packages help the USO bring a touch of home to our men and women in uniform, said Edward A. Powell, President and CEO of USO World Headquarters. The care packages contain an assortment of items the military have specifically requested, such as prepaid international calling cards, disposable cameras, toiletries, and sunscreen. They also include greetings from the American public, transcribed onto official Operation USO Care Package post cards by volunteers and USO staff members.|
|Operation USO Care Package will continue for as long as our country is at war, according to Elaine Rogers, USO-Metro President. This program is possible because of the support from individuals, corporations and organizations that donate funds to sponsor these care packages.|
|Individuals and corporations can learn more about how to get involved and support Operation USO Care Package through donations of product or funds, by calling 866-USO-GIVE.|
|HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT OPERATION USO CARE PACKAGE?|
|Please send all checks and personal greetings for
Operation USO Care Package to:
USO-Operation USO Care Package
C/O Pentagon Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 19221
Alexandria, VA 22320-9998
|Due to the threat of anthrax following September 11, DoD suspended its practice of forwarding personal care packages and correspondence by the American public to Any Service Member. In its place, USO created a care package program. Through sponsorship of an Operation USO Care Package, an individuals personal greeting will be transcribed onto an official postcard and included in the care package going to a service member.|
|MAKE YOUR DONATION NOW!|
How you can help:
Operation Independence http://www.oidelivers.org/
Idea List for Typical C-Rats
"If you were on the worst backpacking trip of your life, with no stores around for 6 months, what would you want to drop out of the sky?"
Brenda of San Diego, CA
|(This perspective will get you into the right frame of mind for creating thoughtful C-Rats for platoon members.)
Here is the beginning of an idea list for your platoon. Please don't feel limited by this list. We're sure there are lots of creative ideas that have yet to be discovered. Please feel free to contact us with your great ideas so we can add to the list from time to time.
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/
Volunteer at a VA Hospital to honor veterans who bore the lamp of freedom in past conflicts.
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.
A partnership between the USO, CertifiChecks, and the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) lets every American make a contribution to the morale and well being of military personnel and their families at home and across the globe, especially during the holiday season. Americans can buy Commissary gift certificates for loved ones stationed abroad—or send a gift certificate, through the USO, to a member of the armed forces they don’t even know, just to show their support and say “thanks!”
For Americans who would like to do their part to support our troops but don’t personally know anyone in the military, CertifiChecks will forward the gift certificates to the USO for distribution to non-specific service members. Through its worldwide military support network, the USO will ensure that the gift certificates are appropriately distributed directly to military personnel. The entire program is operated at a nominal cost to the USO.
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines can use the gift certificates just like cash to buy groceries and other basic necessities at any commissary worldwide. The gift certificates can be purchased online at www.commissaries.com or www.certifichecks.com, or by calling toll-free 1-877-770-4438. The purchaser pays only a small processing fee to cover the costs of printing, shipping and handling, and the gift certificates are available in denominations as low as $25, making this an affordable way for every American to support our troops and brighten their holidays.
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON -- The Operation USO Care Package program for service members deployed overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom is being expanded globally, said Elaine Rogers, president of United Service Organizations of Metropolitan Washington.
USO-Metro has distributed 1,000 care packages monthly to armed forces members to boost morale since last December, Rogers explained. That successful program, she noted, also included messages of support and was sponsored by community businesses and other local organizations.
The USO care package program, Rogers noted, replaced the "To Any Service Member" letter program, which was suspended due to the anthrax mail threat.
Now, Rogers said, the USO wants to expand the care package program to support even more service members. The new program kicks off Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. at a special ceremony at Baltimore-Washington International Airport's International Pier, second floor.
"We wanted to give more Americans the opportunity to say 'Thank You' to our armed forces that are putting their lives on the line in the war against global terrorism," she pointed out.
The expanded program will work in tandem with the USO at BWI, she said, noting that many troops deployed overseas in support of war operations pass through that airport.
"We have a lot of flights going to the Enduring Freedom area," she added, noting that the military's Air Mobility Command at the airport is a partner in the program.
All service members on their way to the war zone from BWI will be given care packages, Rogers noted.
USO-Metro has also "joined with our world organization to expand this worldwide in the distribution of care packages," she added.
Rogers said information on how citizens can send a message of support and sponsor a care package is available at www.usometrodc.org/contents.html or by calling 1-866-USO-GIVE.
"We will take your message to the troops," Rogers said, noting that each care package includes an AT&T international calling card with 100 free minutes.
Military members serving overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom have told the USO they'd appreciate items like paperback books, various toiletries, candy, suntan lotion and snacks, Rogers noted.
"Many of those type of items will be included in the care packages," she said.
The USO, Rogers noted, also provides care packages to service members in hospitals who are recuperating from battle wounds. Care packages have also been given to troops deploying overseas from Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Polk, La., she added.
"Now, we're going to expand the program and work with other USOs in the distribution of the care packages," she concluded.