Help the USO Give the Gift of Home to the Troops for the Holidays: USO's Special Programs and Services Provide Troops with a Slice of Home Away from Home

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As the holidays draw near, many of us become preoccupied with finding the perfect gifts for our family and friends, spending a great deal of time and money in the process. At the United Service Organizations (USO), we have noticed that it is often the little gestures that people make during this season - a call to a loved one, a care package of holiday cookies - that have the strongest impact. For the men and women of the armed forces who are separated from their families during the holidays, these "little things" have the greatest significance. They provide the troops with a connection to family and a bit of "home away from home."

The soldiers ask so little of us, yet they give so much willingly and unselfishly

    Throughout the year and especially during the holidays, we strive to provide the gift of "home" to thousands of men and women who are removed from their loved ones. Through its programs and services, the United Service Organizations conveys to the troops that their friends, family and country are thinking of them and value the sacrifices they make to keep us safe at home.

"During the holidays, many people want to find a way to make a difference in the lives of others," explains Edward A. Powell, president and CEO of the USO. "Donations enable us to accomplish this mission on their behalf, impacting the lives of troops across the globe."

If you want to bring some cheer to the soldiers on duty this holiday season, visit the website,, which provides information on how to make a contribution to the organization's numerous special programs. You can specify which program you would like to allocate money toward. These include:

-- Operation USO Care Package - Through Operation Care Package, you can sponsor a care package for just $25 and a personal message of support and thanks to a service member. Care packages can contain prepaid international phone cards, snacks, sunscreen, toiletries, compact discs and other items requested by our troops.

-- Operation Enduring Care - Operation Enduring Care was designed to help meet the recovery needs of injured service members, their families and the medical personnel who care for the wounded. These programs provide lounge areas at hospitals and medical facilities, duffle bags filled with clothing and toiletries for troops coming directly from the battlefield, DVD players and movies, CDs, video games and other entertainment items that can be checked out and day trips to local sporting events and concerts. They also provide emergency financial assistance for service members and their families to cover transportation, hotel and travel accommodations and other emergency situations.

-- Operation Phone Home - Operation Phone Home provides calling cards for service members stationed overseas, enabling them to keep in touch with friends and family.

-- Gifts from the Homefront - Gifts from the Homefront is a program developed for the donation of Authorized Patrons of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and Defense Commissary gift certificates to be used by service members at base exchanges and at the commissary. Once the certificates are purchased through monetary donations they are sent to USO locations worldwide. At our locations the gift certificates are passed out to service members and their families.

-- Operation Mail Call - Operation Mail Call gives service members access to an Internet-based greeting card provider to send 10 free greeting cards (including postage) to loved ones back home. Through Operation Mail Call, service members can easily send their loving wishes home to family and friends.

"The soldiers ask so little of us, yet they give so much willingly and unselfishly," says Edward A. Powell. "The USO's special programs are a way of giving back to them, or at least giving them a sense of comfort while they're away."

To learn more please visit

About the USO

For more than 66 years, the USO (United Service Organizations) has been providing morale, welfare and recreational services to U.S. military personnel and their families. The USO is a nonprofit, charitable organization, relying on the generosity of the American people to support its programs and services. The USO is supported by Worldwide Strategic Partners AT&T Inc., BAE Systems North America, Clear Channel Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, DRS Technologies, Inc., S & K Sales Co. and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Other corporate donors, including the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381), have joined thousands of individual donors to support the USO. For more information on the USO, please visit our Web site at

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Audrey Laricchia
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