Showing posts with label holiday mail for heroes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday mail for heroes. Show all posts

Monday, November 26, 2012

Supporting Our Troops and Their Families this Holiday Season

As we approach the holiday season, many of us are thinking of our many troops who, sadly, won't be able to spend time with their families and loved ones to celebrate this special time of year. They are either deployed to other countries or are stationed all over the world in the service of our country. When you are enjoying the company of your family members and friends, please remember our soldiers as they endure the hardships of not only serving our country, but being separated from their own families and loved ones during this wonderful time of year.

Help Make the Holidays a Little Less Lonely!

This separation during the holiday season is not only a sacrifice on behalf of the soldier but for their families as well. Their families are celebrating Christmas and New Years without their loved ones, who are serving in a foreign country, often a hostile one where their lives are in danger. Explaining to children why mommy or daddy can't be home for Christmas adds to the pressures for the families of deployed service members. They may not understand why their parents cannot come home for the holidays or may have anxieties about their parents' safety.

While many of us enjoy the holiday feast, warmth of our safe homes and other special family traditions, military families are adapting their traditions around the deployment of their loved ones. Fortunately, there are agencies and organizations that can make this a little easier on the family members left behind. There are groups that have taken on the task, trying to ease the pain of separation for both the soldier and his or her family. 

Since 9/11 about 2.1 million spouses and more than 2 million children have had to cope with at least one deployment of a loved one to Iraq or Afghanistan; for many families, multiple deployments have been endured. According to the Department of Defense, at the latter part of 2010, about 140,000 troops have been serving on those missions. We need to make sure that those troops know that people back here at home are thinking of them and support them each day, but especially during the holiday season.

Show you Care!

The American Red Cross serves more than 2 million service members and many of the 24 million veterans across the globe. During this special time of year, they deliver cards and letters from thousands of Americans to the soldiers in order to give them a connection to home. They collect cards from October through early December, then they are delivered to military installations and hospitals all over the world. This is through the Red Cross's Holiday Mail for Heroes program. You can send them your own cards if you wish, or you can also make a donation to the Red Cross to the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program, PO Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456. The deadline for this mailing is December 7, 2012 so contact your local Red Cross office as soon as possible to take part.

holiday mail for heroes
Soldiers in Afghanistan distributing care packages from home.
Send a care package to a soldier this holiday season.
Care packages are always a welcome treat to deployed service members, especially during the holidays. The Department of Defense website has links for groups that help to send care packages to deployed soldiers.

The USO website has a USO Wishbook for soldiers where you can purchase a specific gift, like a phone call home or a comfort food package. When you make a purchase like this on line, an e-card will be sent to announce your gift. There are a wide range of gifts for deployed servicemen, veterans and families.

These community resources have direct contact with the military and can tell you just what items they desire or need for your care packages. There are also local charitable organizations such as Operation Homefront Tristate that serves New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. They sponsor "Adopt a Family" to support military families in need. Type help military families + your location in your browser's search box to find local programs.

American Red Cross
Care package for the
holiday season.
The following websites can help you create your care packages, both were started by spouses of soldiers and are a great resource for assembling your gifts. 

It is very important to make sure that our troops know that they and their families are supported during this holiday season. Our previous article, For the Troops gave great insight into what military families are feeling while their loved ones are deployed. We owe our troops and their families a lot for the sacrifices that they have all made, for us too, as they defend our freedom. Even little gestures can make a huge difference for these families. I speak from experience as my husband spent our first Christmas in Vietnam. I know how much it means to the family when people show they care. The soldiers and their families will appreciate it so much. Just get involved!!

American Red Cross
Support from the home front means a lot to our soldiers!
The Holiday Mail for Heroes program is a great
way to show support. 

Cindy Foley
Contributing Writer