Help the Troops & Their Families!

No matter your politics, there are U.S. troops around the world who are feeling the pangs of prolonged separation from their families and friends, many of whom are located in harm's way. Their conditions of daily living and survival at 'work' are not great; we all wish it could be better. Separating the causes and the finger-pointing for a moment, let us remember that there is something that we can all do. You pick what that something is and just DO IT!

FORGET THAT IT MAY NOT (PROBABLY WON'T) REACH THEM BY DECEMBER 25. They're still going to be there the day after, the week after that, and the month after that.
The need goes on. This is NOT just a Holiday appeal, Got it?

Whether it's a church activity sending sweatsuits to injured soldiers (there are too many to
list -- check with yours) or a centralized program to help those wounded with a variety of soft clothes and toiletries (see: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/), if you want to support specific goods going to troops, there are programs for you.

Http://www.anysoldier.com provides a wide array of options for you to choose from all the way from care packages to program support. It's admirable how this program began; be sure to check it out. Even the hardest of hearts can't help but be moved by some of the needs identified by representatives of individual units that can be selected all the way from Branch of Service to Male or Female to nurses or soldiers. You can read their list of needs and then take a look at your own grocery cart each week and suddenly you just know you CAN make room to help these courageous troops whose return home remains uncertain -- some turkey jerky, baby wash/wipes for basic hygiene, or batteries -- the needs are not beyond your ability to help. Pick one; in your mind 'adopt a battalion' or a unit and do the best you can.

Another great grassroot effort that has evolved into an amazing organization can be found at http://soldiersangels.org/heroes/index.php You can read about their work and select from a wide array of ways to help out including returning troops and families who try to reach wounded sons and daughters to support them during treatment and recovery.

The Red Cross working with the Red Crescent Society has tried to administer aid to civilians in Iraq. Most aid agencies are, for the present, in too much danger of being killed or kidnapped to provide direct support of civilians. However, there is hope that there will be a time again when they can resume their aid. Contact your local branch of the Red Cross (see your telephone White Pages) and ask how you can best help, typically through a financial contribution.

If you live within 200 miles of a military base you will likely find outreach programs in the community that you can join and support. Sometimes these are administered through VFW, American Legion Posts, or other community groups. If you are interested in particularly helping young, struggling families of deployed troops then this may be the best route for you to offer assistance. Sometimes the gift of telephone calling cards, grocery store gift cards, and help with school uniforms for children can provide amazing relief to the parent left behind trying to stretch a check until next pay period.

Again, don't confuse your personal ideology with politics or government and what's at stake in supporting the human beings from our country who are in positions of extraordinary risk and discomfort. You CAN help a fellow citizen, a fellow human being, without risking whatever opinions you have because that is what being a caring human being is all about. Have the courage to try it today, if you haven't already made the commitment to do so.

Then, keep on giving, even if it hurts, because it hurts them a whole lot more.