The support can be casual or highly involved. It's hard to order them in a way that my readers can see ALL of them, so I hope some of you scroll down and click into a few that reside a little further down the line.
Near and dear to my heart are causes that support our soldiers. I don't personally know any soldiers among my family and friends, but I felt a need to offer my support, to the deployed, to the wounded, to the families.
There are many, many groups that can help you connect to a service member in need of a lift. A couple that I found and joined are in my sidebar links - Soldier's Angels and AnySoldier.com. These two organizations help connect you to a particular service member or a group or a team or a cause. I wrote about Soldier's Angels on my Halloween Good on Friday post. But, it has been a while since I mentioned AnySoldier.com.
Over the course of a couple of years, before adopting individual soldiers via Soldier's Angels, I sent out care packages to individual soldiers I found on the AnySoldier.com list. On this site, service members sign themselves up, offer some brief information and, sometimes, suggest things they need or miss or would like to have sent to them.
I responded to a request from Rick Simmons who flew MEDEVAC missions in Iraq. He was looking for supplies to help spruce up a coffee bar that he and other soldier were setting up to offer an oasis in the desert; a comfort zone in the war zone.
They wanted decorations, games, coffee, flavored creamers, and all the other things a coffee bar might have. I sent a box or two. I remember finding some Java-themed wall art at JoAnn's and some other things, besides coffee, cups, and creamers and sending them out. Apparently many people helped because the pictures showed a great place for the MEDEVACs and the other area personnel to relax. The Original Java coffee bar was left in Iraq for the next unit serving in that MEDEVAC area when Rick and his fellow "OJ" founder, Pete Huggins, came home. I hope there are many supporters to keep this oasis available.
Out of their Original Java experience, a stateside business has evolved - an e-commerce coffee shop - The Original Java. Donations from your purchases are made to Operation Dustoff. From the website:
Project Dustoff is a program dedicated to helping wounded service members and their families as they reintegrate into life at home.
The Original Java offers mailing to APO/FPO addresses. So, if you are like me and don't drink coffee or eat anything flavored that way, you can send 5 lbs bags of certain flavors to deployed service personnel. If you don't know a deployed service member, but would like to offer your support in this way, The Original Java knows plenty and would be happy to ship your order to someone they know.
So, drop by the coffee shop at The Original Java.