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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
http://www.aafes.com/docs/homefront.htm
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
http://www.adoptaplatoon.org/
Adopt a Platoon has several ongoing projects to ensure that every soldier overseas does not walk away from mail call empty-handed.

AnySoldier
http://www.anysoldier.us/index.cfm
Any Soldier is a non-profit organization that helps people send care packages to members of the armed services in Iraq.

Appreciate Our Troops
http://www.appreciateourtroops.org
Purchase a Support Our Troops mug and a free personalized mug will be given to a current or former service member.

Blue Star Mothers
http://www.bluestarmothers.org
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
http://www.booksforsoldiers.com/
Help the troops escape boredom by donating some books. You can also donate DVDs and CDs requested by soldiers.

Camp Doha
http://www.campdoha.org/
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
http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/pages/1/index.htm
Donated cell phones are recycled and turned into cash. The cash is used to purchase calling cards for soldiers in Iraq.

Defend America
http://www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html
Thank any service member stationed throughout the U.S. and the world with an e-mail.

Fisher House
http://www.fisherhouse.org/
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
http://www.freedomcalls.org/
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
http://www.commissaries.com/certificheck/
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
http://www.homesforourtroops.org/
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
http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/foundation_heroesfund.html
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
http://www.militarymoms.net/index.html
This site provides support to all of the moms out there who has a son or daughter in the military.

Operation Air Conditioner
http://www.operationac.com/
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
http://www.platoonphone.com/
Operation Call Home's mission is to provide each platoon with their own satellite phone.

Operation Dear Abby
http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/
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
http://www.operationgive.org/
Operation Give provides toys, clothing and school supplies primarily to the children of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Hero Miles
http://www.heromiles.org/
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
http://www.operationiraqichildren.org/
Many soldiers are rebuilding schools in Iraq and scrounging around for school supplies. Help by donating a school supplies kit.

Operation Military Pride
http://operationmilitarypride.org
Operation Military Pride is a volunteer organization that sends cards letters and care packages to troops.

Operation Uplink
http://www.operationuplink.org/
Donate money to Operation Uplink. The money is used to purchase phone cards so servicemen and women can call home.

Soldiers' Angels
http://www.soldiersangels.org/heroes/index.php
Become some soldier's angel by adopting a service member.

Treats for Troops
http://www.treatsfortroops.com/
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
http://www.usocares.org/
You can sponsor care packages provided by the USO with a $25 donation.

Voice from Home
http://voicesfromhome.org/home.html
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.