Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Give to the Troops

I know the war is a touchy subject, with a lot of different opinions as to why we're in the Middle-East and whether we should be there at all. I am in the camp that thinks the war has been well founded and has been about as well-executed as could be expected. Others have far different opinions that are equally well founded. I can respect that. I have general misgivings about us being at war anywhere at any time, so I know where they are coming from.

One thing I hope that can be agreed upon by all is that we need to support our soldiers. Even if you are against the war, the men and women fighting the war are not the decision-makers and are doing their job very well in very dangerous conditions. With this in mind, I organized what turned out to be a fairly successful fund- and goods-raiser at my place of business, and wanted to point everyone to information on what kinds of goods are needed by the troops and how to get the items collected to them in case you were interested in doing the same.

The best organization I found for these types of donations is Give 2 the Troops program. They organize shipment (you just ship to a US address and they package and send the items overseas, thus saving you the $$ of sending to a far-off location); accept donations by credit card, PayPal, check, or money order if you'd prefer not to collect and ship items; and provide a nice list of requested items to work from.

Avon (in conjunction with the USO) also offers a nice donation op>tion, Operation Avon-USO Cares.For a $10 donation, they send a package containing "Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus, Skin-So-Soft Shower Gel, On Duty 24 Roll on Deodorant, Moisture Therapy Hand Cream and a Moisture Therapy Lip Balm. Other items, given by others in addition to your gift, include, but are not limited to, AT&T worldwide phone card, disposable camera, and baby wipes." They will also send along a personal note if you so desire. You should be able to contact a local Avon rep, or I can hook you up with one that I have a personal relationship with (*cough*wife*cough*) if you so desire...

The final donation option I would recommend is the Operation Iraqi Children program, created by Actor Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, Apollo 13) and author Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit: An American Legend). This program enables Americans to send School Supply Kits to Iraqi children. Similar to the Give 2 the Troops program, they have a US shipping address to send donations to, accept monetary donations, and supply a list of requested items on their site.

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