November 25, 2004

HELPING THE TROOPS: Reader Ron Ford sends this very comprehensive list of support-the-troops websites -- click "read more" for the full list.

AAFES Gift Certificates
The Army and Air Force Exchange Services is where most servicemen and women do their shopping. You can purchase gift certificates for those in Iraq and those hospitalized.

Adopt a Platoon
Adopt a Platoon has several ongoing projects to ensure that every soldier overseas does not walk away from mail call empty-handed.

Any Soldier is a non-profit organization that helps people send care packages to members of the armed services in Iraq.

Appreciate Our Troops
Purchase a Support Our Troops mug and a free personalized mug will be given to a current or former service member.

Blue Star Mothers
The Blue Star Mothers was founded by service members' moms during World War II. Any mother with a son or daughter in the military can join.

Books For Soldiers
Help the troops escape boredom by donating some books. You can also donate DVDs and CDs requested by soldiers.

Camp Doha
Camp Doha provides valuable information for those about to deploy, their friends and families and anyone who wants to support the troops.

Cell Phones for Soldiers
Donated cell phones are recycled and turned into cash. The cash is used to purchase calling cards for soldiers in Iraq.

Defend America
Thank any service member stationed throughout the U.S. and the world with an e-mail.

Fisher House
The Fisher House Foundation donates comfort homes, built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

Freedom Calls
The Freedom Calls Foundation is helping families videoconference with their loved ones in Iraq. You can donate money to help keep this project going.

Groceries for Families
The men and women who lay down their lives for us are terribly underpaid. Help a family by purchasing gift certificates to the commissary.

Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops assists injured veterans and their immediate families by building new or adapting existing homes with handicapped accessibility.

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provides grants to the families of servicemen and women who died in Iraq. You can donate online, through mail or by calling a toll-free number.

Military Moms
This site provides support to all of the moms out there who has a son or daughter in the military.

Operation Air Conditioner
Operation Air Conditioner provides not only air conditioners but space heaters (the desert is cold in the winter) for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Call Home
Operation Call Home's mission is to provide each platoon with their own satellite phone.

Operation Dear Abby
The U.S. Navy and Dear Abby have teamed up. Their site allows you to send e-mail messages of support to service members.

Operation Give
Operation Give provides toys, clothing and school supplies primarily to the children of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Hero Miles
You can donate your unused frequent flier miles to help soldiers travel on emergency leave. They are also used to help families fly to hospitalized soldiers.

Operation Iraqi Children
Many soldiers are rebuilding schools in Iraq and scrounging around for school supplies. Help by donating a school supplies kit.

Operation Military Pride
Operation Military Pride is a volunteer organization that sends cards letters and care packages to troops.

Operation Uplink
Donate money to Operation Uplink. The money is used to purchase phone cards so servicemen and women can call home.

Soldiers' Angels
Become some soldier's angel by adopting a service member.

Treats for Troops
Treats for Troops helps get you provide packages to your loved ones overseas. If you don't know anyone, the Foster-A-Soldier Program matches you with a registered soldier by branch of service, home state, gender, or birthday - or you can choose to sponsor a group of soldiers.

USO Cares
You can sponsor care packages provided by the USO with a $25 donation.

Voice from Home
Voices From Home allows military members and their families and friends to send and receive immediate voice e-mail messages in remote locations around the world.