Being a former Marine, I know all too well that the holiday season is often bittersweet for our deployed military personnel and their families. It’s hard to be joyful when you’re a world away from those dearest to you. Here are three ways you can make the holidays a little warmer for our military personnel.
- Send a Card or a Care Package to a Deployed Service Member.It used to be that civilians could send care packages addressed to “any soldier;” however, security concerns now prevent this. The Department of Defense requires that all letters, cards, and care packages be addressed to a specific service member. If you don’t personally know a deployed service member, you can go to ourmilitary.mil/care-packages/ to find a list of organizations that will help you connect with a soldier overseas. Not sure what to include in a care package? AdoptaPlatoon has compiled an excellent list of tips, ideas, and reminders to get you started.
- Write an Online Thank You Note. The USO’s Thanks From Everywhere page lets you post an online message to deployed service members, their families, and to wounded soldiers and veterans. You can also read messages from people in your area and around the country.
- Help Out a Military Family. Deployed soldiers aren’t the only ones who sacrifice to serve our country. The holidays are especially difficult for the wives, husbands, and children left at home during a service member’s absence. Here are some ways to help:
- If you already know a military family, bake a batch of holiday treats to share, or offer to babysit so that mom or dad can do some Christmas shopping without the kids in tow – the simplest gestures often mean the most.
- Volunteer with the USO, give to Operation Homefront, or support another organization that helps military families.
- Give or donate a Flat Daddy to the family of a deployed soldier. Flat Daddies are life-sized cardboard cutout photos of deployed service men and women. They’re designed to help children – especially young children – of deployed soldiers better cope with their parents’ long absences.
Whether or not you already have a connection with a service member, these are just a few of the countless ways you can show your appreciation and support this holiday season – and throughout the year.
Director, Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555