Books, coffee and feminine hygiene: How to support troops during the holidays

Kaylah Jackson
November 13, 2018 - 1:30 pm

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Takoune H. Norasingh/Released)


Whether you celebrate a particular holiday or not, this season usually calls for gatherings with family and friends, often spending the time to reflect on the previous year. However, if you’re deployed, many times you miss out on those precious moments. There are a number of organizations dedicated to making our men and women in uniform overseas feel a little slice of home. If you want to get involved, here are a few places to start.

American Red Cross “Holiday for Heroes” Campaign

Formerly known as Holiday Mail for Heroes, the initiative allows local communities to give back to the military community by joining with their local Red Cross offices. Rather than having a national P.O. Box, individuals can support active-duty troops and veterans through a variety of activities. Check with your local Red Cross for details on how you can help.

Wreaths Across America

National Wreaths Across America Day is every December. The organization which aims to “Remember, Honor, and Teach,” draws thousands of volunteers each year to place wreaths on service member’s graves. The wreath-laying ceremonies happen in Arlington Cemetery and 1,400 additional locations around the globe. Click here, to find out how you can volunteer to help place a wreath.

Read Also: Wreaths across America: 5,000 wreaths to 1,500,000.

Operation Gratitude

Want to send some encouraging words or candy to a deployed service member? Operation Gratitude has sent over two million care packages worldwide since 2003. Not only do they send them to deployed troops, but the organization also sends items and packages to wounded warriors and caregivers. Click here, to find out how you can volunteer or donate items.  

Soldiers Angels

Ensuring “no soldier goes unloved,” Soldiers Angels runs a gamut of programs to support the military community. During the holiday season, you can donate items to send in holiday stockings to deployed service members. You can also participate in the Adopt-A-Family program. Supporting a wounded, ill or injured service member or a veteran family enrolled in HUD/VASH.

Dunkin Donuts Coffee Request

Next to energy drinks, coffee and the military go hand-in-hand and when you’re downrange, having a good quality cup of coffee can mean a lot. (Not that the troops don’t just love the coffee that comes in MREs!) With a simple online form, Dunkin Donuts will send a case of Original Blend Coffee to deployed service members. Click here, to fill out the form and brighten your service member’s day with a good cup of Joe!

Operation Paperback

Since 1999, Operation Paperback has sent over 2.2 million books to troops overseas. By registering with the organization you can request overseas addresses using their automated list. You can send a single shipment or several of your books using the names and information the website provides. Operation Paperback also provides books for USO centers, military children and chaplains. Click here, to learn how you can support by donating your own books.

Operation Courage is Beautiful

Being deployed often means sacrificing certain home comforts and for female troops, that can mean regular access to beauty or feminine hygiene products. Find out how to nominate a female service member for a care package or donate new, unused items, here.

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