When I was in Elementary school, I had a pen pal. His name was Duane. Our friendship became well known in our town when our local newspaper did a feature story on us. Duane was stationed in Iraq during the first gulf war, and we continued to exchange letters throughout the war and after he returned home. I’ve long since lost contact with Duane, but I wonder if he’s in active duty today and serving over the holidays to protect our country.
My family met Duane when we “adopted” him as our service member and sent him care packages. We didn’t send much of significance, a few toiletries and some games and books to fill his time. But I’ll never forget how thankful he was for our gifts.
Christmas is a wonderful time to reach out and bless a service member, to thank them for their sacrifice on our behalf. There are many great organizations who offer opportunities to send them gifts that are meaningful and represent Christ’s love. I found most of these on Kim Kommando’s website, and I suggest you check it out yourselves because there are many more that I won’t list here.
If you are inspired by my story about my pen pal Duane, there are several organizations that facilitate care packages for service men and women. Soldiers’ Angels matches you with a specific person, whom you will commit to sending a set amount of care packages and letters for a specific duration of time (click here to learn more). Any Soldier is an organization that informs you about specific needs that you can meet without committing to a particular service member (click here to visit their site).
If you like the idea of sending a gift to a specific service member that you know, who is serving somewhere overseas, consider sending them a gift certificate to the Army and Air Force Exchange Services, which is where many of them can shop. You can purchase them online through this site (click here).
In the recent blockbuster film Transformers, Captain Lennox talks from the battlefront with his wife and newborn baby girl via satellite videophone. A nonprofit organization named Freedom Calls is making this sort of communication a reality for our troops, but it takes a lot of donations to keep it running. If that scene from the movie choked you up, maybe this is something you’d like to give for Christmas (click here for more).
This idea is right up my alley. Books for Soldiers coordinates book donations to soldiers serving overseas. If you have extra paperbacks sitting around, and you’d like to send them to a service member, click here to learn more.
Here’s my final troop oriented gift option, and it has a different focus. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reaches out to service members, at home and abroad. If you have a heart for our troops and want to give them the gift of the gospel of Jesus, through an organization that has a long history of doing it well, click here to find out how to contribute.