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 where you'll find names and addresses of deployed servicemembers along with a list of his or her unit's needs and wants.
When a servicemember deploys and has arrived in-country, he or she fills out an application to volunteer at the unit contact person for AnySoldier.com. Incoming care packages are received by the contact person and are distributed to their fellow unit members who receive little or no mail. 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 are not 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.
AnySoldier highly recommends that you read all of the information on the AnySoldier.com homepage, as well as its comprehensive FAQ page before you select a recipient for your care packages.
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:
- Marine Corps — AnyMarine.com
- Navy — AnySailor.com
- Air Force — AnyAirman.com
- Coast Guard — AnyCoastGuard.com
Addressing the Care Packages
Letters and care packages must be addressed with the contact person's name on the first line.
The next line must read "Attn: Any Soldier." Below that is the military address you receive from AnySoldier.com. This system lets the contact person know that the items inside the package are meant for everyone in the unit and that you received the contact information name from AnySoldier.com.
Information for Teachers
If you happen to be an educator or daycare 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.
AnySoldier.com was founded by Marty and Sue Horn. When their 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. He wanted the additional packages to go 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. (The site's About Us page offers more in-depth information about this amazing family and the heartwarming story behind AnySoldier.)
More Than Care Packages
In addition to care packages, Any Soldier, Inc. is involved in numerous 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 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 millions of servicemembers since launching the site in August 2003. Donating money is a great way to help all of the current servicemembers served by the organization.