In Summer 2016, National President Maria Logus met a young soldier who had just returned from overseas. After learning about his experiences, she inquired about the needs of active service members. His response was immediate and simple – prepaid phone cards.
One of the greatest gifts you can give a service man or woman far from home is the ability to say, “I love you” to a spouse, child or parent. The United Service Operation (USO) delivers pre-paid phone cards to deployed troops free of charge.
The New Philanthropic Initiatives committee continually researches organizations that provide assistance to those in the service, veterans, and their families here in the United States and abroad. We encourage Philoptochos Chapters to embrace one or more of these projects and exhibit support for our US troops and veterans. Please click on “additional information” below for details on the Phone Calls Home project, as well as additional suggestions for helping our troops overseas and our veterans who have returned home.
In an effort to show our gratitude and appreciation for our men and women in the military, we recommend the following worthy programs, which focus on the needs of all our armed forces, including the National Guard, Coast Guard and our Veterans:
- Wreaths Across America (www.wreathsacrossamerica.org) is a national network of volunteers that provides memorial wreaths during the Christmas season to over 1,400 cemeteries across the country. A wreath-laying ceremony is held annually on the third Saturday in December. This program remembers our fallen US Veterans, honors those who serve and teaches our children the value of freedom.
- Homecoming Heroes Grant Program (www.modestneeds.org) through the Modest Needs Organization. This program provides support to military veterans who have recently returned home from overseas deployment as they work to transition back to civilian life. This grant program is designed to provide financial assistance for short-term emergency expenses, such as an auto repair, a one month rental or mortgage payment, and a large utility bill, for the veteran and his or her household. The Homecoming Heroes Grant will provide applications for those seeking assistance with a paymetn of a bill or expense.
- USO Service Organization (USO) (www.uso.org) – The USO mission is to provide morale, welfare and recreation-type services to uniformed military personnel. Thousands of USO volunteers do everything possible to provide a home away from home for our troops and to keep them connected to their families. One way chapters can do so is through the USO Operation Phone Home prepaid phone cards. To help this worthy program, donations can be made through their website.
- Fisher House Foundation (www.fisherhouse.org) – Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA Medical Centers, which enable family members to be close to their loved ones during hospitalization for combat injury, illness or disease. Philoptochos volunteers can prepare meals, provide snacks, donate house cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, and gift cards. Chapters can also host a party for these families during the holiday season.
- Hope for the Warriors (http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org) - Provides a full cycle of programs, which support individuals, military families, post 9-11 service members, veterans, and families of the fallen at various points along their road to recovery, helping them find a sense of well-being and a fulfilling life.
- Operation Support Our Troops (www.osotamerica.org) – Supports the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families, and thus providing a link between citizens and military personnel so that everyone has the opportunity to express their support and gratitude.
- Chapters may also want to contact their local Veterans Administration Agency or VA Medical Center and request a wish list to help provide the veterans with gifts they are unable to purchase on their own.
Our brave service men and women in uniform have made great sacrifices to serve our country. Let them know we will be there for them as they finish their service to our nation, and while they face their next challenges here at home.
Please share your chapter projects with us at the e-mail: 4RTroops@philoptochos.org so that we may share your ideas with our members and let them know how many service men and women’s lives and veterans’ lives have been touched through your generosity.