Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa for Soldiers

While researching on for a Christmas craft project, I came across this article about How To Play Santa for Soldiers. My husband, a number of the men in my family, as well as a handful of our friends, are veterans. These are simple and effective things almost anyone can do to encourage and brighten the holidays for those that protect our freedom.

1. Donate to Operation Phone Home (AT&T and the USO) and give troops the chance to make a free call home over the holidays.

2. Serve a specific soldier. provides directions to donate care packages to soldiers in any branch of the military that are stationed in harm's way. They have helped about 93,861 service members to date. The website provides a list of soldiers' names and their wants and needs and will walk you through the steps to get your care package or letter of encouragement into the hands of a soldier.

3. GoodSearch is a Yahoo-powered search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue--about a penny per search--to listed American charities and schools designated by its users. The donated money comes from the site's advertisers. If the charity you like to support is not listed, you can add them on GoodSearch's homepage.

4. Many organizations that provide care packages and letters of encouragement to soldiers have enough donations for goods, but lack the postage necessary to ship the packages to Iraq or Afghanistan. In some cases, the organizations spend more than $10,000 a month on postage. Consider donating an amount specifically for postage to defray these costs.

Image - Mark Glenn Studios, New York

5. Canine soldiers are the often forgotten heroes of war. They sniff out bombs and mines, build morale, relieve stress and provide comfort to men and women fighting abroad. These dogs need a variety of equipment while stationed at these desert locations to keep them comfortable and to help them do their jobs and keep the troops safe.

Some of the top-requested items for dogs supporting U.S. troops include dog brushes; water bowls (including collapsible bowls); large dog beds; latex toys and refillable Kong toys; dog snacks and treats; unscented dog shampoo; and veterinarian-type dog scales, which can be found online.

An RPCM Chilly Dog Cool Vest, which dog handlers recommend to help keep the dogs cool in 135-degree summer heat. Dogs pant more when they are hot, which diminishes their ability to detect explosives and puts military members' lives at risk.

Click images for photo credits--donation info via e-How--find more ideas here: How to Play Santa for Soldiers.


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