Group's Mission is About Giving Back

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2007 - For one Connecticut troop-support group, it's all about giving back to those who sacrifice so much for their country and making sure servicemembers know those at home care.

In fulfilling its mission, "Give2TheTroops" works to support the physical, moral and spiritual well-being of servicemembers deployed to combat zones around the world, Andi Grant, the group's president, said.

"To date we have sent over 28,000 enormous care packages ... to more than half a million deployed and wounded troops," she said. "Our goal is to send reminders of home and things to lift the entire unit's spirits."

The packages contain all manner of personal, food and entertainment items. To make sure each box is chock full of wanted and needed items, Give2TheTroops asks servicemembers interested in receiving a care package to fill out a form, which can be found on the organization's Web site.

"The group does this so that we can get a better feel of what the particular unit is going through so that we can tailor our care packages to their need," Grant said.

For example if a unit needs a lot of socks, the group sends them a box with a lot of socks and an assortment of other items.

"We had one (servicemember) request items for a Hawaiian luau, so we advised our dedicated volunteers ahead of time and put together a special package for this unit, complete with Hawaiian shirts and a hula girl," Grant said. "All packages include letters of support from home."

Give2TheTroops is a member of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

This affiliation has offered Give2TheTroops the opportunity to connect with other America Support You groups that have similar, as well as complementary, missions, Grant said.

"The commonality of all the America Supports You groups is to provide support for our troops and their family members," she said. "We can all learn something from one another, and if there is a support group out there that is better able to meet a person's request we can direct them to that support group."

Grant added that America Supports You has helped Give2TheTroops connect with corporations like Hallmark, which has partnered with the group.

"Moreover, other companies, individuals and troops have come to us (saying) that they heard about us through (America Supports You)," she said.

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