Today, Our Daily Green paints our space with camouflage in honor of the Veterans who have served and those who still are serving.
Reflexively, we want to organize drives or collections for our military with the holidays approaching. However, this may not be the best time or the most efficient way to support our soldiers. From the AnySoldier.com website:
We want to show our support to the folks who are far from their families fighting this war and we want to do all we can to show them that they are not forgotten. We realize how cool it would be to coordinate a huge drive to collect tons of stuff and money to send to all 50,117 of them to feel better during the holidays.
And we can do it! But maybe we shouldn't.
We learned a lot of lessons in the last 8 years, 2 months and 16 days, and we strive to do things better. Please read on.
This is really a tough call. Every year so many folks wait until the holidays to send their packages that units are buried, not to mention the APO/FPO. Please keep in mind that most units have no place for massive amounts of packages, nor the means to move them. So, what are you supposed to do? Simple, really.
You should never send more then 5 packages to the same address at the same time. Actually, 1-2 a day is best. Chances are you are not the only person sending something and the soldiers will have to deal with the packages on their 'down time', which I can tell you isn't much at all.We can't stress this enough:
NO large shipments at the same time to the same address. Ever. Send early. OK, you knew that. Holiday shipping dates from the USPS are posted on this web site as soon as we get them.
Keep the packages SMALL!!! Remember, this is about support, not just stuff. Think about this: Mail call, the Soldier hears his/her name called out, with joy he/she gazes toward the box that the mail clerk points to. Friggin box is bigger than the tent he/she lives in. Weighs more then a Battalion Commander! Not cool...
Are we saying don't do anything? No, we are asking for you to realize that you can be part of the solution. The many wonderful folks who have participated in supporting our service members have been simply outstanding in their generosity. There is no doubt you will continue.
Many, many people will not know about this and with good intentions actually help cause a huge log jam. I am asking for all the folks involved with the Any Soldier Inc. web site and effort to not do big drives this holiday, or at least really think how what you will do effects the folks you are trying to support.
Help them all year, not just the holidays.
Another idea is a charity I wrote about a few years ago, and it's still going strong. Games for Heroes was founded by two young men in New York who realized the soldiers are just a few years older than they are. They collect handheld video game units and game cartridges to send to the soldiers so they have some portable entertainment. So if you upgrade your handheld video games over the holidays, send the old ones to Games for Heroes in January.
If you have other electronics you wish to recycle, Recycle for Soldiers is an excellent organization. They accept: cell phones, PDAs, inkjets, iPods, laptops, and digital cameras.