Homefront Help

February 16, 2010

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's Web site, when available.

Support Our Troops
Anyone who wants to support service men and women in any way would do well to begin their search for programs at this site. Support Our Troops operates a range of efforts that benefit members of the military community, but all of the services aim at boosting support for those who serve and their families in a direct citizen-to-citizen manner. The Our Programs page highlights some of the main programs that donations support, providing a brief explanation of 10 projects and activities. These vary from motorcycle rides to apparel sales to care packages. The groups also helped institute the "Support Our Troops!" specialty license plates in 26 states. The plates help people show their patriotism as well as raise money for the organization's efforts. Support Our Troops accepts donations from individuals, groups and companies. More information about donating is listed online.

The Web site also features a forum with different discussion categories. In addition, the site posts blogs and messages to and from the troops and also hosts groups people can join. Site visitors can create a member account to take advantage of all these offerings by clicking on the Community link. The Find a Group locator enables visitors to search for organizations that help the military community in different ways. The online offerings also include troop-support and military news.

USA Cheerleaders                                         
Billing themselves as the "Original Cheerleaders for Our Troops," USA Cheerleaders participate in a variety of activities that benefit military members, including distributing care packages to deploying troops, welcoming home returning warfighters and appearing at other military-centric events. This month, the cheerleaders will distribute packages at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on February 21 as part of USO efforts there, and they will participate in Operation Welcome Home at the same airport on February 24 and 25, dependent on flights.

USA Cheerleaders want to participate in any event aimed at military members. They will sign autographs, take pictures, entertain or handle other necessary assistance at events worldwide. Information about how to request an appearance is available on the Web site. The organization also is looking for donations and sponsorships to keep its efforts going and to purchase new uniforms. Information about how to supply funds is posted online.

Blinded Veterans Association
The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) is a group of blinded veterans who help other blinded veterans. It was established to help veterans and their families overcome the challenges of sight limitations. The organization offers service programs, regional groups, resources and government advocacy to improve life for blinded veterans, whether they incurred the disability during or after active military service. The BVA also helps encourage and support blinded veterans. The services of and membership in the organization are free, and becoming a member is not a prerequisite for obtaining assistance.

Blind or visually impaired veterans, families, friends and anyone who wants to become involved are encouraged to contact the organization by letter, phone or e-mail. The BVA would like to hear from anyone who can offer ideas, thoughts and service. The Web site features contact information, instructions for making a donation or becoming a member, more detailed information about the group, news on its efforts and additional resources.


The SIGNAL Connections staff encourages readers to take advantage of the programs mentioned in this column and to pass along the information. In addition, if you know of a program that is helping service personnel, please let us know about it. Submit that information to SIGNAL's news editor.

The SIGNAL Connections staff has made every effort to verify the legitimacy of these programs and to include information accurate at the time of publication. Inclusion in this column does not constitute an endorsement by AFCEA International or SIGNAL Connections. 


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