Sending letters or care packages is an excellent way to show your support for the men and women in uniform, and to let them know that we care about them and haven't forgotten about the sacrifices that they're making on our nation's behalf.
But what if you don't know anyone who's deployed and still want to send a care package? One great option is AnySoldier.com, a website you'll find names and addresses of deployed servicemembers along with a list of his or her unit's needs and wants.
After a servicemember deploys and has arrived in-country, he or she fills out an application to volunteer as the unit contact person and agrees to distribute incoming care packages to unit members. Once the application process is complete, the contact person submits the unit's requests to AnySoldier.com. For security purposes (OPSEC) the unit's address and other identifying information aren't listed on the site.
Understanding the Program
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of sending care packages and inadvertently take on more than you can handle. To alleviate any unnecessary stress, it's important to understand how the AnySoldier program works before you jump into a care-package project.
Before you select a recipient for your care packages, Marty and Sue Horn, founders of AnySoldier.com, highly recommend that you read all of the information listed on the AnySoldier home page and spend some time looking over comprehensive FAQ page.
Alternatively, you may want to check out the video instructions for how to use the site.
Once you understand how the program works and you're ready to choose a servicemember, you need to pick a branch of service. AnySoldier.com has a number of sub-sites to help you do just that.
- Army - AnySoldier.com
- Marine Corps - AnyMarine.com
- Navy - AnySailor.com
- Air Force - AnyAirman.com
- Coast Guard - AnyCoastGuard.com
Addressing the Care Packages
After you’ve finished putting your items in the care package, make sure to write Attn: Any Soldier (or Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coast Guardsman) beneath the contact person's name. This lets the servicemember know that the items inside the package are meant for everyone in the unit and that you received the servicemember's name from AnySoldier.com.
Information for Teachers
If you happen to be an educator or day care provider and are interested in developing a classroom project that gets the students involved in creating and sending care packages to deployed troops, AnySoldier.com has an area on their FAQ page that's designed specifically for teachers.
When Marty and Sue Horn's son Brian deployed to Iraq, they sent him care packages every week. To their surprise, he asked for more, and explained that several members of his unit hadn't received any packages and he wanted to give them to his fellow soldiers.
In August 2003, the Horns began AnySoldier.com as a family project meant to supply their son and his comrades with care packages. The project received overwhelming support, and in January 2004, AnySoldier.com expanded to include all branches of the Armed Forces.
(Please see the About Us page on their Web site for more in-depth information about this amazing family and the heartwarming story behind AnySoldier.)
More Than Care Packages
Besides care packages, Any Solider, Inc. is involved in numerous other charitable activities. For example, they've conducted fund drives for wounded warriors, helped procure and import wheelchairs for disabled Afghani children, and assisted with a project that collected and shipped medical supplies and textbooks to the much-needed Iraqi medical system.
Any Soldier, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is always seeking donations to help offset operating expenses. AnySoldier.com has helped over 2.5 million servicemembers since launching the site on August 17, 2003. (This number changes daily. To see an updated figure please go to their home page and select "Statistics of Our Contacts" from the dropdown menu under the "home" tab.)
Updated by Armin Brott, July 2016