*Photo Courtesy of Maximo Photography*
I was originally planning to do a "Happy 4th of July" idea for the little ones, but after a chat with one of our good friends, Riley's Godfather, I changed my thoughts. He has just left the service after many years of commitment and multiple deployments. We happened to be watching a commercial about the new Crunch Girl Scout Cookie Candy Bar, brought up memories of care packages. He started to to tell me how nice it was and how fast they went. Clearly this conversation got my brain turning.
I started thinking of the ways in the past that we've donated, sent items or made a Thank You cards here and there, started searching around for something that we should do, then I came to a shocking end. I think after years of battle after battle and economic downfalls all around the charity to our troops was slowing and in some cases even meeting a end. One of the biggest organizations I remember was Give 2 The Troops. I found their site and was instantly saddened. A recent update stated they had to put a halt to their collection of items for the troops, because they no longer had the funds to send them. It's just knotted my stomach to think that the troops' one little bit of home and comfort, reassurance of strangers was no longer able to reach them. They are seriously in need of funds.
Though, if you know someone personally and were just hoping for ideas on what to send, I was once told that anything that can be added to water, like Crystal Light were appreciated. Wet wipes and other toiletries, because "living in sand isn't easy." Also lots of food, snack like items, think items that don't go bad and are very portable, like energy bars and jerky. Don't forget or under estimate the power of cookies. We take for granted the taste of cookies, sometimes, but as my conversation with a friend reminded me, a box of Girl Scout Cookies is appreciated. I'm sure on non-cookie season Oreos or somethings should work.
After seeing what happened with Give 2 The Troops I went on a quest to see if any organization was still up and running. I did find another organization, it is working kind of similar called Operation Gratitude. If you can't give money to get items from Give 2 The Troops you may wanna poke around there and see if you can meet any of their needs.
One last organization that I actually have worked with is Operation Homefront. It is a great way to give back to those at home and their families. Check out their Current Needs tab, even seeing that was a strong reminder of how below meeting needs these organizations are. If you live in San Diego, or a military town try calling to contact because they use to have plenty of year round drop off sites. Baby items were always a need and lots of food. They also list that they are way short on their goals of collection.
I'm not trying to bring us down, but put a little extra thought out there while we enjoy our barbecue and fireworks. Just think on this upcoming patriotic holiday about those who serve year round with lots of sacrifice and how to give back. At the same time this is a great way to teach your child the hows and whys of giving to others.
For those of you that happen to be a military family, I found this site with a list of Military Discounts. Check them out, not sure which are up to date or are at whatever location, but hopefully this helps. An, Thank You for all you give!
Please Be Safe & Enjoy the Holiday!
Please leave a comment if you know any other good organizations or Military Discounts that you think people should know. Thank you.