Ways to support the troops

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This Veterans Day find a way to show your support

There are thousands of troops stationed around the world that can benefit from some support from home. Being away from one's native country can cause feelings of homesickness and potentially loneliness. All it takes is a few encouraging words to let servicemen and women know you are thinking about them and appreciate their efforts.

So what can you do to show your support? There are many things, actually.
Here are a few ideas and you can build on them.

1. Write a letter: The single most effective and simple way to offer troops support is to tell them, in your own words, how much you appreciate their efforts. Write a letter to someone whom you've never met and tell him or her about your life and what is going on back home. You not only will provide a window on your world, you just may make a new friend in the process. There are plenty of organizations that will connect you with overseas soldiers. Do a search online, or you can even speak with a local veteran's association or military recruiting organization for more information.

2. Send greeting cards: It can be difficult for troops overseas to send back special occasion greeting cards, simply because of the lack of availability of them. Whether you send handmade cards, or pre-bought general occasion ones, the cards will be appreciated by soldiers who want to offer special sentiments to their loved ones.

3. Make phone calls easier: We're a world of modern conveniences. We think nothing of picking up a cell phone and making a call or sending a text.
Troops don't always have that luxury. It can be expensive to make calls overseas. Sending soldiers pre-paid phone cards and used cell phones enable them to make calls back home. Visit "Cell Phones for Soldiers" to learn more about how you can help.

4. Send a care package: Troops often appreciate little touches of home.
Generally this involves food or items that are familiar to them. Sending care packages can be a great way to offer a touch of the familiar. Find out what is acceptable to send by contacting an organization like Treats for the Troops. You can also raise money with friends and family to send something substantial. You can pre-load an MP3 player with songs and have that sent, as an option.
5. Volunteer: Connect with an organization that provides support to current or past troops. Perhaps you can inquire at a veterans' hospital. Even visiting past veterans and sitting down and talking with these people about their experiences are ways to show support.

6. Foster a pet: Have you ever given thought to what happens to the pets of servicemen and women? If they don't have a spouse or family member to care for the animal, the pet may have to be put in a shelter or given away. However, you can volunteer to foster the pets of service personnel during their tours of duty.
7. Provide support for military families: Organize a party, barbecue or picnic to bolster the spirits of troops' families. By knowing that their family members at home are happy and well cared for, troops can better do their jobs on the front lines.

- Courtesy of Metro Creative Services.