Give Thanks: Support Our Military Family
President Abraham Lincoln
Second Inaugural Address
March 4, 1865
When soldiers are deployed overseas, families are left behind and often face financial and emotional hardship. With thousands of charities devoted to supporting our military family, it’s not easy to know which ones are the most worthy of your support.
The Military Family Support Web Guide lists our top charities for supporting military families and troops. Use it to connect with the families and service members who have sacrificed so much for America by sending letters and supplies, volunteering, helping heal wounded soldiers or giving much-needed donations.
Make the United States the country you want it to be: a place where citizens support our military family and honor their principles through even the most challenging of times. Learn how to support the families whose loved ones are currently serving, how to support the troops overseas and those who have returned home, and find Web sites that military families can visit to seek help.
View a Spanish-language version of the Military Family Support Web Guide.
If you want to strengthen the American community on a local level, one great way is to reach out to the families whose loved ones are currently serving. Many excellent resources exist to help you provide military family support.
- Be sure to visit the sites mentioned in the other sections of this guide, as many of them also need volunteers and financial support.
- Although most of these organizations need volunteers to donate time, all of the organizations can also benefit from financial contributions. If you don’t have time to offer, make a tax-deductible donation instead. Many organizations allow you to make donations online with just a few clicks.
Sending a military care package is a time-honored way to give our troops items they need and to let them know that someone at home is looking out for them. Use the sites below for suggestions on what to send and how to address your military care packages, whether you know a specific service member in need or are reaching out anonymously.
- The U.S. Postal Service provides free boxes for sending military care packages to soldiers.
- Some of the organizations listed below offer several outreach possibilities in addition to sending military care packages. Browse each organization’s site to learn how you can help.
- Some items that may seem basic to you aren't allowed on the frontlines. Before you put together a care package, review these sites to find out which items will be most helpful to the troops and where you can send them.
- The U.S. Department of Defense recently no longer offers the “Any Service Member” program, which allowed people to send care packages to anonymous troops. Care packages now have to be addressed to specific recipients. To help you do that, some of the Web sites in this section provide soldiers’ names and addresses.
Like anyone who is in an unfamiliar place, soldiers love to receive correspondence from the home front. Learn how to support our troops with letters, e-mails and small but invaluable supplies.
- These organizations ask that individuals that volunteer do so only if they have a generous amount of time to dedicate to correspondence. If you don’t think you can commit to writing regularly, consider other ways to support our troops.
- Many of these organizations also encourage you to send care packages. These packages don’t have to be big or expensive—even small items like toothpaste and lip balm can make a big difference in the daily life of a soldier.
- E-mails urging you to send a holiday card to “Any Wounded Soldier" at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are popular during the holiday season, but in fact no military facility can accept mail that isn't directed to a particular soldier. Be skeptical of any such e-mails (well-meaning though they may seem) and instead rely on the excellent organizations we’ve listed here for help corresponding with individual service members.
Although there are many soldiers fighting who deserve attention, there are also a great many that come home wounded and need tremendous resources for healing and support. Use the sites below to learn how you can help wounded soldiers.
- For many people, supporting wounded troops in person can be an overwhelming experience. If you choose to volunteer face to face with severely injured soldiers, be sure you're prepared for the emotional impact of the experience.
- Interested in reading about a wounded soldier with an inspiring story? Try “Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior: A Personal Story of a Vietnam Veteran Who Lost his Legs but Found His Soul” by Allen B. Clark Jr.
Although there are many organizations dedicated to providing military family services, not all are of equal caliber. In fact, the vulnerability of many military families creates an opportunity for individuals with bad intentions to take advantage of families when they are most susceptible. We’ve vetted and selected the most honorable and effective organizations to help you and your family find the help you deserve.
- Most of the organizations included here work with families in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces but each branch has its own programs and benefits as well. Scroll down for our recommendations on specialized organizations; branches are listed alphabetically.
- If you’re a member of a military family, make sure to read the “Providing Military Family Support” section of this guide. You might be eligible for assistance from the organizations featured there.