In honor of Military Appreciation Month, we encourage you to get involved and show your appreciation to our Military members and their families in tangible, heartfelt ways. Even if you’re unable to give financially, there are many ways you can give your time and talents. Here are just a few:
Many Military families struggle to make financial ends meet, and every dollar saved off their grocery bill can make a big difference. Overseas Military commissaries accept manufacturer coupons up to six months past their expiration date, so don’t throw them away! Send them to an organization like Coups For Troops or Troopons®, which collect and send coupons overseas. They can even help you “adopt” a Military family to send your coupons directly.
Don’t throw away that old phone! Your unwanted items could be used to raise funds for Military families. Several organizations accept donations of gently used cell phones and empty ink cartridges to be recycled, and cars to be sold for parts, with proceeds benefiting Military charities. Most donations are also tax deductible.
Like working with your hands? Consider sending a handmade gift. Operation Gratitude offers several ideas for practical, handmade items most requested by our deployed troops, such as paracord survival bracelets, knit and crochet scarves, sewn bandana cool-ties, and handmade greeting cards, to name a few. Troop “wish lists” are updated frequently, so check their website to find out what needs you can fulfill.
Nothing lifts the heart of a soldier more than a letter from home, and even a letter from a complete stranger can be a special, treasured gift. Send a handwritten thank you note to a Military member and let them know you’re thinking of them. Organizations like Soldiers’ Angels and A Million Thanks can help you get started and connect you with your pen pal.
Send a care package
Many deployed troops miss the simple comforts of home – their preferred brand of razor, a favorite late-night snack, and ways to pass the time like movies, books, music and games. You can donate requested items to organizations like Support Our Soldiers, Operation Paperback, and Forgotten Soldiers Outreach who prepare and send care packages to troops all over the world.
One of the most rewarding ways you can give back to your local Military communities is by giving of your time and engaging directly with our Military members. The USO has many volunteer opportunities across the country. Whatever your talent, chances are they can find a use for it. Whether it’s helping out at events, welcoming troops home, staffing a reception desk or even just lending a compassionate ear to a hurting soldier, volunteers are the heart of the USO. Go to uso.org to find out how you can help.
What ideas do you have to show your appreciation to our Armed Forces? Tell us below.
GEICO has been proudly serving Military personnel since 1936. If you’re Active Duty, Retired, Reserve, or National Guard, go to geico.com to find out all the ways GEICO is here to help you.
By K. Bothwell