As Americans living out our daily lives, it’s very easy to forget that we still have over one million active military personnel serving in our armed forces. These are people who are missing their families and feeling homesick every day.
Sending care packages to troops is one of those efforts that is a win-win situation. There’s a warm feeling you get by making another person happy, and you will be bringing countless joy to the recipients. There are many organizations that help. To avoid falling victim to scams, there are non-profit groups that have been vetted by the U.S. government to aid the troops serving both domestically and abroad. Some of the most sought-after items are non-melting candy, blankets, handmade cards that express gratitude, necessities such as sunblock or socks, and trail mix, to name just a few. There is literally no shortage of combinations to send. For a more structured show of appreciation, the Red Cross holds an annual national giving initiative.
Placing American flags at gravesites is another way you can support the troops and their families. On Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day it’s a great way to show respect for our servicemen and women. You can find out more by contacting your local VFW or American Legion organization.
Holidays can be an especially rough time for people who are separated from their loved ones. If you are a family living on a military base, it’s always a welcome gesture to invite other service people for meals. A homecooked dinner is just the thing for cheering up a lonely soldier, especially during festive times of the year. Another option is to visit an elderly or wounded Vet during the holidays. They will welcome the visit more than you can imagine.
Contrary to popular opinion, there are items that are no longer of use to civilians that still hold value to a service member. Expired coupons can still be used by overseas commissaries on military bases. It’s important to first verify which manufacturer’s coupons will be accepted before bundling them together for shipping. And keep in mind, the grace period for expired coupons is only six months.
Not all gestures need to be grand, either. In addition to Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, most people are unaware that the entire month of May is National Military Appreciation Month, which gives plenty of opportunities to shake a military member’s hand and thank them for their service.