How to Help Out Your Troops This Holiday Season

By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

It’s the time of year when everyone’s in the giving spirit. Many Americans think about donating to a good cause during the holidays, and the Defense Department knows the public often wants to help out military families.

If you’re not sure how to donate or where to start, here are some great options.

Write letters or send cards to the troops:

Sending service members a letter and message of support is a great, simple idea. While the DoD can’t disclose the names or addresses of service members due to privacy and security concerns, many organizations collect letters and cards to include with their shipments to the troops. Here’s a list of some of them.

Many social media sites also offer people the opportunity to send greetings online.

Members of the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group decorated a table for Thanksgiving with placemats sent in care packages at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Decorations, cards and gifts are sent in care packages from family, friends and charities across the U.S. and help brighten the holidays for deployed service members. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Lasal

Donate an item or care package:

The DoD has also compiled a list of some organizations that send care packages to troops. Check them out here.

NOTE: You cannot donate funds or items directly to the DoD.

There’s also the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, although those donations don’t necessarily go to military families.

Kelley Cargle packs a Treats 2 Troops care package with snacks Nov. 29, 2017, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson

Other ways to donate:

Within the DoD, there’s also the Combined Federal Campaign. It’s the world’s largest and most successful yearly workplace charity campaign. Pledges made by federal civilian and military donors support eligible nonprofit organizations that provide health and human service benefits all over the world.

The charities are reviewed yearly to make sure they’re actually providing the services they claim to be, and they’re also reviewed for public and financial accountability. The charities are required to disclose the percentage of funds spent on administrative and fundraising purposes, which helps people deciding who they want to donate to.

To find a local campaign in your area and to get a list of charities or pledge forms, click here.

Good luck, and have a wonderful holiday season!

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Source: http://www.dodlive.mil/2017/12/07/how-to-help-out-your-troops-this-holiday-season/