Regardless of your feelings on the situation in Iraq, our countrymen on the pointy end of the spear deserve - and need - our support. These include many readers of this site. The following organizations are working to help our servicemen and servicewomen:
American Red Cross: The American Red Cross provides loans, grants and other assistance to actice duty military, Reserves, veterans and their families. Red Cross certification is necessary for a servicemember to be granted emergency leave. Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services personnel serve in nearly 1,000 chapters in the United States, on 109 military installations around the world and alongside our troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Please consider donating to the ARC to help them continue their outstanding efforts.
Camp Doha.org: This website has been around since 1997. It provides information to soldiers deploying to Iraq, as well as to their families and the general public. It also has a large "Support the Troops" section where people can learn more about programs they can donate to, and they can also support troops personally through leaving online "any soldier" messages, or adopting a unit to send mail and care packages to.
Soldiers' Angels Foundation: Soldiers' Angels are dedicated to ensuring that our military and their families know they are loved and supported during and after their deployment into harm's way. They work tirelessly supporting wounded soldiers with transitional backpacks, personal visits, phone calls, etc. Additionally, they send thanks via letters and email to the military of Great Britain, Poland and Australia and other nations serving in the Coalition in Iraq.
AnySoldier: Non-profit charitable organization that provides a means for people back home to send care packages to any US servicemember in a combat zone.
HeroMiles.org: American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan are being given 2 weeks leave during their year-long deployment. Servicemembers on R & R or Emergency Leave are flown by the military to Germany or three airports in the United States (Baltimore/Washington, (BWI), Dallas/FortWorth, (DFW), or Atlanta, (ATL )) for free. They have been responsible for flights the rest of the way in the U.S. to their destinations, until Congress provided funding for this purpose on November 3, 2003. However, this funding is not yet available and may not be sufficient for all the troops or troops on "Emergency Leave". (Emergency leave is granted in cases where a death or other crisis in the immediate family occurs).
HeroMiles enables you to donate frequent flier miles to assist servicemembers in getting from those designated airports to where they are going. Since the military can't always give the troops much advance notice of when they will get their leave in non-emergency situations, tickets must often be bought at short notice. That's expensive, and particularly difficult for juniour enlisted people, who are at the lowest end of the pay scales.
Those with Reserve/ National Guard units nearby can contact the units and ask for the Family Readiness Liaison. The FRL is going to know who needs what, and ways to get those things to the servicemember or the family trying to cope while the servicemember is away. Many servicemembers left behind young wives and small children who are not as prepared for the hardships of deployment as their active duty counterparts. Every Reserve unit should have a FRL contact that would probably appreciate any assistance. For active duty units, each base has a Family Readiness office that can help direct volunteer efforts.
The Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America (a nonprofit 501(c) (3) veterans organization is offering the opportunity to support our soldiers as they fight the War on Terrorism. We are kicking off Project T.N.T. (Troops Need to Talk). We will provide a one hour phone card to every Oregonian currently serving in the Middle East. We need 2,500 cards to supply these soldiers. Each card costs $5 and can be used in over 220 countries. So, not only will these phone cards give our troops a chance to call back from Iraq, it will let them communicate while in Kuwait and provide a calling plan from Afghanistan. The cards can even be used in the United States after the troops return home to Oregon.
Anyone interested in donating to our project should visit the Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America website.
If you know of other organizations assisting our military folks -- and this includes our UK, Polish, Italian and other partners in the Coalition, please forward links to firstname.lastname@example.org.