Saturday, November 24, 2012

Send a Little Bit of Christmas to a Soldier

I posted this article at the end of October, but wanted to have the same information up during the Christmas mailing season. Please feel free to share this info!


If you have loved ones deployed during the upcoming holiday you know time is short to get Christmas in the mail. This is a great time to pull together friends and family to help. Send out suggestions and invite everyone to participate. It’s especially nice if they include notes and photos. Serving oversees, soldiers can feel like they’ve been forgotten and these boxes help them know they’re not!

Also, be sure to pack any extra you can. There are plenty who won’t receive anything, and soldiers ALWAYS share!

For those who may be doing this for the first time, here are some hits and suggestions.


What to Pack
  • Christmas Candy—even chocolate, this time of year it should do fine.
  • Baked Goods—cookies and bars travel better.
  • Individual Drink Mix—this makes even luke-warm water palatable for our men and women far away from home. Also, the individual packets are much easier to carry when they’re away from base.
  • Beef Jerky—our soldiers need good quality snacks and this is a popular source of protein while out on patrol.
  • Nuts—another great snack, packed with protein.
  • Individual Snacks—you know the individual likes and dislikes of your soldier, but some good choices are protein bars, granola, small pop-top cans of fruit, etc.
  • Handwritten Cards & Letters—now is a great time ask friends and family to write short cards and letters to arrive inside the box.
  • iTunes Gift Cards—Most soldiers have iTunes accounts and can get much more than just music. There are audio books, TV shows, and movies available.
  • Pictures—yes, you can email them pictures, but something to have in hand often means the world to our loved ones away during the holidays.
  • Socks— for soldiers in combat uniforms, socks don’t last long, so it’s always a welcome gift.
  • Batteries—again, there’s always a need for these.
  • Toiletries—travel size soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. But, if you’re including these things in a shipment with food be sure to double bag these items. Nothing’s worse than getting a box from home where everything is covered in mouthwash or toothpaste.
  • Wet Wipes—great for so many things, also a need for those deployed.
  • Playing Cards & Frisbees—life on base is sometimes boring and these can help pass the time.
  • Books & Movies—again, both good ways to pass the off hours. Believe it or not, childhood Christmas classics, like A Charlie Brown Christmas, are favorites with our soldiers! 

Tips on Packing
  • Be ready to ship three to four weeks ahead of when you want the package to arrive.
  • Use small quart size, zip-top plastic bags to double bag anything that’s a liquid or gel. It’s devastating to get a box full of unusable items because something burst in transit.
  • It’s also a good idea to double bag anything that’s powder. That way it will still be usable if it breaks open during shipping. 

Now it’s your turn, I’d love to hear some of your tips and suggestions.

Blessings,
Edie

Friday, November 9, 2012

Remembering Our Veterans

A guest post from Leigh DeLozier


Much of the media’s attention lately has been on the elections, and rightly so. But let’s not forget we’ve slipped into November and that next Sunday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. It’s one of those holidays I know I’m guilty of not paying close enough attention to, even though I certainly should.
As the WWII generation ages and leaves us, I think many of us tend to forget what a gift they gave us through their service. Here are a few numbers to help put it in perspective:
  • 16.1 million Americans served in WWII, with an average time of serving overseas of 16 months.
  • An estimated 292,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines were killed in battle during WWII.
  • A total of 405,000 U.S. military servicemen died in WWII, either during or outside of battle.

Those are sobering numbers, and they don’t even take into account the sacrifices made during all the other conflicts the U.S. has been involved in. They also don’t reflect the numbers of Americans who have served during peacetime, but were willing to go to battle if needed. For example, just from my own personal connections …
  • One great-uncle served under Patten in WWI. He drove a tank and carried shrapnel in his skull for the rest of his life (which was long-lived, fortunately).
  • Another great-uncle was taken as a German prisoner of war during WWI. He was in the prison camp at the same time his brother was in an English hospital recovering from the shrapnel wounds.
  • My godfather participated in the D-Day campaign.
  • Several other men in the church where I grew up were also WWII veterans. I don’t know all of their stories, partly because most of them never wanted to talk about it. But I always knew they were heroes.
  • One of my uncles was career Navy. Another served his Navy time in Ireland.
  • My dad is a Coast Guard veteran; my father-in-law was an Air Force veteran. Several other friends – or immediate relatives of friends – served in peacetime or were part of the campaigns associated with Desert Storm.

Even so, I’ll never truly understand the stress and sacrifice they and their families go through because I haven’t been in that spot myself when a loved one is on the line. But I can remember to say “thank you,” I can teach my children what these people have done for us, I can pray for our military and their families.
I hope you’ll remember to do the same. And if you have close connections with someone currently serving in our military, I would love to know. I’ll add them to my prayers.


Leigh DeLozier is a corporate writer and editor by day and freelance writer by night. She works on her middle grade and YA novels during her kids’ music or dance lessons, while waiting in the car rider line at school, or when the rest of her family is sleeping. She loves any kind of chocolate, is addicted to Beth Moore Bible studies, and drinks entirely too many Diet Cokes. She blogs about writing, books, and her life with Christ at www.leighdelozier.com. You’ll find her on Facebook by searching for Author Leigh DeLozier or on Twitter as @lbdelozier.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tips for Holiday Mailing for Deployed Soldiers


If you have loved ones deployed during the upcoming holiday you know time is short to get Christmas in the mail. This is a great time to pull together friends and family to help. Send out suggestions and invite everyone to participate. It’s especially nice if they include notes and photos. Serving oversees, soldiers can feel like they’ve been forgotten and these boxes help them know they’re not!

Also, be sure to pack any extra you can. There are plenty who won’t receive anything, and soldiers ALWAYS share!

For those who may be doing this for the first time, here are some hits and suggestions.


What to Pack
  • Christmas Candy—even chocolate, this time of year it should do fine.
  • Baked Goods—cookies and bars travel better.
  • Individual Drink Mix—this makes even luke-warm water palatable for our men and women far away from home. Also, the individual packets are much easier to carry when they’re away from base.
  • Beef Jerky—our soldiers need good quality snacks and this is a popular source of protein while out on patrol.
  • Nuts—another great snack, packed with protein.
  • Individual Snacks—you know the individual likes and dislikes of your soldier, but some good choices are protein bars, granola, small pop-top cans of fruit, etc.
  • Handwritten Cards & Letters—now is a great time ask friends and family to write short cards and letters to arrive inside the box.
  • iTunes Gift Cards—Most soldiers have iTunes accounts and can get much more than just music. There are audio books, TV shows, and movies available.
  • Pictures—yes, you can email them pictures, but something to have in hand often means the world to our loved ones away during the holidays.
  • Socks— for soldiers in combat uniforms, socks don’t last long, so it’s always a welcome gift.
  • Batteries—again, there’s always a need for these.
  • Toiletries—travel size soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. But, if you’re including these things in a shipment with food be sure to double bag these items. Nothing’s worse than getting a box from home where everything is covered in mouthwash or toothpaste.
  • Wet Wipes—great for so many things, also a need for those deployed.
  • Playing Cards & Frisbees—life on base is sometimes boring and these can help pass the time.
  • Books & Movies—again, both good ways to pass the off hours. Believe it or not, childhood Christmas classics, like A Charlie Brown Christmas, are favorites with our soldiers! 

Tips on Packing
  • Be ready to ship three to four weeks ahead of when you want the package to arrive.
  • Use small quart size, zip-top plastic bags to double bag anything that’s a liquid or gel. It’s devastating to get a box full of unusable items because something burst in transit.
  • It’s also a good idea to double bag anything that’s powder. That way it will still be usable if it breaks open during shipping. 

Now it’s your turn, I’d love to hear some of your tips and suggestions.

Blessings,
Edie

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blue Star Museums


I’ve just learned about this amazing opportunity to support our Blue Star Families and those men and women who serve. I’m planning visits to our local museums and hope you’ll make every effort to support this program!
Blessings,
Edie
PRESS RELEASE:
Blue Star Families Joins Forces with the First Lady,
Dr. Biden and 1,600 American Museums to Give
Free Admission to Military Families.
Through Blue Star Museums, museums across America will invite military personnel and their families to visit their museums to participate in the arts free of charge all summer long.
May 22, 2012
NEW YORK, NY - Today, Blue Star Families announced the launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,600 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel, including active Reserve and National Guard, and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2012. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families.
The launch of the program was announced today at a press event at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The event was hosted by Metropolitan Museum President Emily Rafferty, who was joined by Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, A. Dennis White, CEO and president of MetLife Foundation, local military families, and representatives from the more than 40 New York City museums participating in Blue Star Museums this summer. Following the event, the presenters escorted local families representing the Armed Forces on a tour of several galleries at the Metropolitan Museum, which has been a Blue Star Museum since the program began in 2010.
At the Blue Star Museums launch event, 5/22/12 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From L-R: A. Dennis White, CEO and President, MetLife Foundation; Gunnery Sergeant Mark Butler, USMC Public Affairs, New York City; Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO, Blue Star Families; Creel Brown, Captain, U.S. Army and daughter Riley; NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. Photo by Melanie Einzig
"We are honored to once again welcome U.S. service members and their families to the Metropolitan Museum," said Emily Rafferty, president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Museum is an American treasure, and we are grateful to share it with those who have given so much to our nation."
"Blue Star Museums is a great resource for our military families," said Brad Cooper, executive director of Joining Forces, a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
"As we enter the third consecutive year of the Blue Star Museums program, we are happy provide an opportunity for our nation's service members and their families to connect with our national treasures," said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. "Through this distinctive collaboration between Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts and more than 1,600 museums across the United States, military families have an unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the country's finest museums for free."
"Through Blue Star Museums, the arts community is extending a special invitation to military families to enjoy over 1,600 museums this summer," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "This is both an opportunity to thank military families for their service and sacrifice, as well as a chance to create connections between museums and these families that will continue throughout the year. Especially for families with limited time together, those on a limited budget, and ones that have to relocate frequently, Blue Star Museums offers an opportunity to enjoy one another and become more fully integrated into a community."
MetLife Foundation is pleased to partner with Blue Star Families to increase access to the arts for our military families," said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. "Opening doors to the many rich and diverse cultural venues across the country is a wonderful way for us to say 'thank you' to our military families for their service and support."
This year, more than 1,600 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are taking part in the initiative, including more than 300 new museums this year. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer. The effort to recruit museums has involved the partnership efforts of the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children's Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. This year's Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and 70 children's museums. Among this year's new participants are the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in Richmond, Virginia; the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, NM; the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland, Ohio; the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco, California; the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas; and the World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
FOLLOW: Blue Star Museums is on Twitter at @NEAarts, hashtag #bluestarmuse. To learn more about the White House's Joining Forces initiative visit JoiningForces.gov and follow on Twitter @JoiningForces and on Facebook. Follow Blue Star Families on Twitter, @BlueStarFamily, and on Facebook.
About Blue Star Museums
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,600 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 28, 2012 through Labor Day, September 3, 2012. The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their family members (military ID holder and up to five family members). Active duty military include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and active duty National Guard and active duty Reserve members. Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly. To find out which museums are participating, visit www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums. The site includes a list of participating museums and a map to help with visit planning.
Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact bluestarmuseums@arts.gov, or Wendy Clark at 202-682-5451.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve, with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable through programs and partnerships like Operation Honor Cards, MilKidz Club and Blue Star Museums. Membership includes military spouses, children and parents as well as service members, veterans and the civilians who strongly support them. To learn more about Blue Star Families, visit www.bluestarfam.org.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.
his is the latest NEA program to bring quality arts programs to the military, veterans, and their families. Other NEA programs for the military have included Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience; Great American Voices Military Base Tour; and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.