[Update in #2 below]
But for some people this meant choosing between soldiers and hurricane victims. They chose the hurricane victims--they rightly chose to assist with the more pressing and life-threatening needs. But now, organizations that help our military men and women are really hurting. Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers' Angels writes, "[D]onations to Soldiers Angels [are] at an ALL TIME LOW. We will not be able to effectively assist soldiers if this continues." She adds the plea, "We need press, radio and TV exposure, we need it yesterday."
The various projects of Soldiers' Angels encompass far more than care packages and holiday gifts to our deployed warfighters. Here's a partial list of additional SA activities:
[Update in #2 below]After the hurricanes that devastated the Gulf of Mexico, millions of people reached deep into their pockets to help those who had lost everything. It was wonderful to see how people stepped up to help their fellow Americans.
- Airplane tickets to reconnect families of soldiers on leave/hospitalized
- Hotels/housing for family members of a hospitalized soldier
- Clothing and furniture and diapers to struggling military families
- Personal hygiene kits for the recently-wounded
- Round-the-clock hospital support for the wounded until family arrives
- Blankets for wounded personnel in-transit to the U.S.
- Armored blankets for army vehicles
- Food for military families with employment struggles
- Computers for the wounded
That's just a small sample of what the 40,000-strong membership of Soldiers' Angels does. There is no troop-support organization out there that has a broader mission.
The financial woes of SA also directly affect Valour-IT. Because SA has been so excited about our project, they have advanced significant money to help us provide voice-controlled laptops. If the donation situation continues to deteriorate, they will likely no longer be able to help us with laptop purchases.
So, what can you do to help Soldiers' Angels and Valour-IT?
- Donate--to both, if you can. So many of us are so casual about our purchases of a dollar here, five dollars there. What does a fancy cup of coffee cost these days? Every day for five days a week? How about having a regular cup o' joe for a week and spending that $15-25 on supporting a military family, helping a wounded soldier access the Internet, or helping a military family come to the beside of their wounded loved one?
- Donate--without donating! Check out Buy for Charity, which gives a percentage of your online purchases to your favorite charity. You must register at Buy for Charity just once, selecting Soldiers' Angels under the category "miscellaneous" or entering "angels" in the search box. Then when you purchase online from over 350 affiliated companies (like The Gap, Dell Computers, Overstock.com, and many military equipment sites), a portion of your purchase price is donated to Soldiers' Angels! Also see GI Bracelet, which donates the entire purchase price of every bracelet sold.
- Email and tell your friends about Soldiers' Angels, Valour-IT, and especially the "Buy for Charity" program. Casually follow up with them to make sure they took at look at the websites.
- Call your local talk radio stations. Tell them about Soldiers' Angels and Valour-IT and direct them to the websites. Call up the big syndicated talk show hosts too, and tell me that you've heard about a great way to support the troops. Email them! And don't forget about newspapers and blogs--write letters to the editors, and give your favorite bloggers a heads-up. (If you have significant media contacts, let us know!)
- Get Creative! Try any fundraising idea that sounds like it could be fun--bake sale, fundraising dinner like a spaghetti dinner, an auction for services like leaf-raking or window-washing, etc. Even if you don't raise a ton, you'll have fun, and every dollar counts.
Soldier's angels and Valour-IT need you right now... because the men and women who are serving our country and protecting us need our support in more than just words. Say it with your pocketbook and your actions. Make sure they know we haven't forgotten them!