By ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 11, 2005; Page W2
In honor of Veteran’s Day, here are some ways to help U.S. military members and veterans.
? Operation Gratitude sends care packages with food, toiletries and DVDs to military members deployed overseas. Since it was founded in 2003, the nonprofit, based in Encino, Calif., has sent more than 70,000 packages to the troops, and it plans to send 30,000 this holiday season. The group is accepting donations of packaged food – such as beef jerky, trail mix, tuna and power bars – and goods such as batteries, disposable cameras, baseball hats and prepaid phone cards. You can mail items to the address on the Web site or drop them off at any Jeep dealership in the country until Dec. 31. For information, or to donate cash, log on to http://www.operationgratitude.com .
? Operation Homelink helps U.S. military members abroad keep in touch with loved ones via the Internet by supplying refurbished computers to their families. Since it was founded in 2003, the Chicago-based nonprofit, has provided 1,100 computers. The group accepts donations of computers from companies only – with a 25-computer minimum. It prefers that individuals donate cash, which is used to pay for the restoration and shipping of computers. To donate, log on to http://www.operationhomelink.org .
? The United Service Organizations, or USO, has been working to boost the morale of active-duty military members since 1941. The nonprofit, based in Arlington, Va., sponsors concerts and operates 123 troop recreation centers around the world. The centers have food, televisions, free Internet access, and games, such as Xbox. The USO also runs Operation Phone Home, which has distributed nearly one million prepaid phone cards since it began two years ago. It also hands out care packages to troops being deployed. To donate, log on to http://www.uso.org .
? The Wounded Warrior Project assists veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and lobbies on their behalf on Capitol Hill. The organization, based in Roanoke, Va., was founded in 2003 by John Melia, a former U.S. Marine injured in a helicopter crash while serving in Somalia in 1992. The group gives a backpack filled with items such as socks, T-shirts, toiletries and a portable CD player to wounded service members. It also provides them with information about financial planning and government benefits, and pays for their families’ travel expenses to visit them in the hospital. In addition, it buys disabled veterans specially adapted sports equipment. To donate, log on to http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org .