This year the Girl Scouts has created a program where consumers can purchase a box of cookies to be sent to our troops overseas. It’s such a wonderful way to pay it forward to the troops (not to mention that you don’t have to avoid the tables set up in front of every local store or come home with a box of Girl Scout Cookies for every friend whose daughter is selling them).
And then I realized that I have never written a post highlighting the many ways there are to do acts of kindness in thanks to our servicemen and servicewomen. So here we go, 20 ways to pay it forward to our military:
- Volunteer with an organization that benefits the military. In my area, for instance, there is the Travis Manion Foundation, which does amazing work in honor of our service men and women. You can go to http://www.serve.gov/vets.asp to find volunteer opportunities near you.
- Walk or run a 5k that benefits the military. Go to http:active.com to look for an event in your area.
- Donate your unused airline miles through http://www.fisherhouse.org/programs/hero-miles/.
- Adopt a military family through Coupons to Troops at http://www.couponstotroops.com/sign-up-to-adopt-a-family/.
- Take flowers to a military cemetery to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
- Making a donation to one of the more than 300 nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping our troops and their families. To find out more, go to http://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/military-resources/how-to-support-our-troops.html.
- Send care packages or gifts to the troops. Here are some of the terrific organizations that will send items to the troops on your behalf, such as http://troopcarepack.com/, http://operationtroopaid.org/donate or http://www.adoptaplatoon.org/.
- Send books and DVD’s to soldiers overseas through http://booksforsoldiers.com/.
- Donate your old cell phones, which pay for calling cards for our troops through http://cellphonesforsoldiers.com, an organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active duty military members and veterans. You could also donate a calling card through http://www.uso.org/uso-operation-phone-home.aspx.
- Make a charitable organization to a service organization, such as the http://woundedwarriorhospitalfund.org/ or http://www.armedforcesfoundation.org/.
- Send emails, cards or messages of support through sites such as http://www.amillionthanks.org/.
- Who doesn’t love coffee? Well, our troops want their morning cup of Joe too. You can help an entire troop get a cup of coffee for just $2 through https://www.greenbeanscoffee.com/coj/.
- Consider purchasing or donating a gift certificate to a military commissary through https://www.commissaries.com/giftcard/index.cfm.
- Do you know how to knit or crochet? Make a scarf for a soldier. Learn more at http://www.operationgratitude.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/MadeWithLove_2012.pdf.
- Music lovers, here’s a suggestion for you. Our service men and women love music too, and they would appreciate having instruments with them while overseas. You can help make this happen for them through http://www.guitars4troops.com/.
- Blood donations are needed for our troops as well. There are donation centers throughout the country and you can donate directly to the military via http://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/default.aspx.
- Download for the cause. All proceeds from the download of country star Joshua Gracin’s single, Can’t Say Goodbye, will be donated to Heroes at Home and Rebuilding Together. To download the song, go to https://itunes.apple.com/album/cant-say-goodbye-single/id450000447?v0=9988&ign-mpt=uo%3D1.
- Speaking of Rebuilding Together, you can help provide critical repairs and renovations for self-sacrificing individuals and, in turn, revitalize our community. For more information about volunteering, go to http://rebuildingtogether.org.
- Love to sew? Sew Much Comfort provides free adaptive velcro closures clothing to support the needs of our wounded service members. You can become a sewing volunteer at http://www.sewmuchcomfort.org/volunteer.
- You can foster a military pet for a service man or woman while they are serving overseas. It’s the perfect way for a pet lover to support the troops. For more information, go to http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/issues-information/fostering-military-pets.html.
There are so many incredible organizations throughout the country that are working hard to support our troops. These are just a handful. Yet one of the simplest ways to help is just by finding out if there are military families in your area doing acts of kindness for them, anything from paying off their lay away to mowing their lawn.
So, do any of these ideas inspire you to pay it forward? Have you done an act of kindness for our troops or their families? If so, what have you done? Let’s hear your inspiring acts of kindness.