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10 Ways to Support Our Troops

A rundown of online resources you can use to show your support to U.S. military servicemen and women.

Operation Homefront
Created by spouses of active-duty military personnel, this site lists links you can use to donate money or household items, land, vehicles and other goods to assist military families whose loved ones are deployed overseas. Funds are designated for use in a given region to help families there with day-to-day expenses. The site also includes links that list volunteer opportunities in local chapters. 

Operation Uplink
Provided in conjunction with the VFW Foundation, this site solicits online and mail-in contributions that go toward the purchase of phone cards for active service personnel and hospitalized veterans. The group collects monetary contributions and purchases phone cards, which get distributed to eligible recipients. Contributors receive letters of thanks and those who give $100 or more get frame-ready certificates. 

Operation Shoebox
This nonprofit group seeks monetary contributions or donations of select goods — toiletries, stationery, snacks — by mail to its Florida headquarters, which prepares packages to send to troops. 

Unmet Needs
Run by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and sponsored by a Vermont-based tool company, the program seeks monetary donations to provide aid to spouses and families of all military personnel, but focuses on National Guard and Reserve troops serving in Iraq. The site allows online donations and provides printable forms for mail-in contributions.

The United Services Organization (USO)
The USO seeks $25 donations it can use to prepare and send care packages to troops. Donors can also send along a personalized message to soldiers who receive the packages, which typically contain razors, calling cards, sunscreen and other personal necessities. The USO no longer accepts direct donations of such items. 

Voices From Home
This site seeks monetary contributions to enable active-duty troops and their families to record and send voice-mail messages to each other. Donors give through an online credit card application, with funds going to AmVets, a nonprofit that runs the computer servers and coordinates the distribution of messages to recipients.


This article was originally published November 2011

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