November 22, 2014- 12 noon update EST
With the holiday season here ,not everyone is lucky enough to be home
especially our troops serving us all over the world and our wounded healing .
We need help.
We support our wounded and deployed troops without politics.
Thank you for wanting to say thanks with us to heroes who sacrifice so much .
We must fill and ship our holiday care packages now and at the latest by December 5th .
We need to raise $2,000 for postage alone and $3000 right now to cover needs
and holiday items packed securely in each care package.
ANY donation is welcome or these care packages will not be on time for Christmas and Hanukkah
without everyone’s help .
“THE BEST FEELING WHEN I WAS SO FAR AWAY
FROM HOME, WAS TO HEAR MY NAME AT MAIL CALL,”
CPL THOMAS SHARED.
JUST CLICK SAFELY ON THE RIGHT ON THE
“DONATE” BUTTON OR SCROLL DOWN TO THE
YELLOW PAYPAL BUTTON TO HELP OUR WOUNDED
Your gift goes 100% to our missions for our wounded and our deployed warriors not
home for the holidays . We are extremely short on funds .
- It costs exactly $15.45 to ship 1 USPS large flat rate care package and $25 to fill and
- ship a holiday care package.
- We have 156 care packages to prepare and ship for the holidays.
- We need to ship all our packages by December 5th . We need help .
- A monthly pledge of any amount is a much appreciated holiday gift to support
- our troops and wounded warriors in need this holiday season .
- Click here safely on the yellow Paypal button below to help or on the donate button on the right :
New Dad sees his little girl for the first time...why support matters at Homefront Hugs
You can also send help to Homefront Hugs right here
through regular mail and we welcome any letters or cards
for our care packages t00:
1881 West Liberty St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Our heroes ask for so little and sacrifice so much for all of us
Homefront Hugs has a strong need for volunteers to adopt a hero or his or her family from the comfort of your home, your classroom, your business or place of worship. Anyone can adopt from home .
NEED FOR INDIVIDUAL TROOPS TO BE ADOPTED WITH PERSONAL SUPPORT : ***
Currently we have 607 troops waiting to be adopted and we hope you will try the experience
or at least share the need please with this flyer :
* PDF ADOPT A DEPLOYED HERO IN NEED 2014 Homefront Hugs *** * *
GOOD NEWS: We make adoptions easy & inexpensive so anyone can do this from home.
We’ve been running our adoption program for almost 14 years now so we have a rewarding and an
award winning program for both our volunteers and their hero recipients.
Email your interest to Adoptions@HomefrontHugs.org for more info .
We know what it means to a serviceman or woman healing or a military hero deployed away
from loved ones and home. You also have us by your side the whole time you adopt; we check on you
and your hero to make sure all is well. What matters is the emotional support so no hero serving
feels forgotten. You have contact with our president and founder, Alessandra Kellermann,
if there ever is an issue or problem or for any questions at all. Alessandra is a crisis intervention
counselor and former military wife, Army civilian and mother of a USAF dependent so she knows
the system and the challenges well. She also used to run volunteer programs paid so she knows how
valuable and what a gift volunteers like you are. When she was a USAF wife, her husband Steve and her
went through a family tragedy. There was no support then for her deployed husband or her …so she
knows how important support can be. ****** ***
** * * * CURRENT UPDATE:
We now have 607 troops waiting to be individually adopted ,
with NO support.
We receive our confidential lists from commanders, fellow
warriors, chaplains,friends and families.
Sometimes, the troops sign themselves up
recognizing that the support can make a difference
on their stress levels , sleep and ability to focus on
their missions .
HINT: If you are a business, school,classroom,club, or place of worship
and just want to adopt a group,only ONE person needs to send the info
below and be the one in charge…but it is a super way to help.
What does Adopting a Hero mean?
Adopting a serviceman or woman is much more than a penpal experience and a fun
experience that belongs on everyone’s bucket list of life. Troops depend
on this support to avoid depression and PTSD and focus on their
missions best .
Adopting a troop from any branch is an experience
to remind us all what sacrifice and giving back to heroes who keep us
free and safe means, politics aside. In World War II, our entire country
helped on the homefront to support our men and women in uniform
fighting against Hitler’s regime of evil and tyranny. Not one citizen
refused to help and sacrifice in some way to show their allegiance with
our troops. And thus our name…Homefront Hugs.
All we ask is that you send 2 care packages a month with a letter or note.
Care packages can be as small as a magazine and some candy with a note.
This costs less than $3 to mail but of course you can send more.
(BIG HINT: Our list and photos of items to put in care packages are just ideas
never required items. You can allow others to give you treats to put in your
care packages but always know who and what they are and never share the
address due to confidentiality… or OPSEC which is the military term for operational security)
It’s free to adopt a hero and even the flat rate boxes to ship your care are free at the Post Office .
You can order them to be delivered to you and already PREPAID ! You can call USPS and ask how…
or visit their website. Don’t worry, when you receive your assignment…we explain all of this again. *
FFFACTS TO REMEMBER WHEN ADOPTING :
- Anything you send,even a card and a magazine twice a month will remind your
- hero he or she is not forgotten. anyone
- You can do this as a team..with a best friend…your neighbor, your business,
- or a class full of students. Just remember as a group one person needs to be in
- charge of the confidentiality (OPSEC) of the address and email.
- At no time can OPSEC be violated or it can close our entire program down .
- Our servicemen and women need support as they are deployed all over the
- world in many volatile areas and often for long periods of time.
- They need to know this country has not forgotten and that is why
- Homefront Hugs is here.***H
- Most of the troops we receive have been submitted to us from chaplains and
- commanders –> troops who really need some cheer and real support .
- Anyone can contribute to your care packages BUT the address can never be
- shared .
- Please adopt a hero today or consider this for a later
- time . Morale in war is critical for the mission and to help prevent isolation,
- depression and even helping to reduce the effects of PTSD.
HOW CAN I ADOPT A HERO FAST - and get assigned quickly?******************
Here is what we need to assign you your own hero to support :
1. Your full name*
2. phone number and address (no POBoxes) (we never share your info)
3. agreement to keep everything confidential -
4. agreement to send 2 small care packages a month with a card or letter.
5. 2-5 sentences as to why you wish to adopt and help lift morale
6. Agreement to 6-9 month adoption aometimes less but length
of deployment,and to let us know if an emergency comes up so no hero is ever left without support.
7. Due to national security/OPSEC, usually only American citizens can adopt a
military family or a soldier. We thank everyone who has expressed an interest
in helping from Canada and other countries, and you can but there are some
extra steps. You must include a copy of your passport or drivers license .
8. Confirm that you are over 18 in a sentence, or have a parent apply with you.
9. If you are not an American citizen , we will need a copy of your photo id with
your address and name as it is on the application. Then we acquire special
permission from the soldier but it is possible now.
Email all above info to
Adoptions@HomefrontHugs.org and you should have a hero fairly quickly !
At most it can take a month BUT with the holidays we try to assign much faster .
HINT/Suggestion: As you are waiting we suggest you keep reading and start
preparing for your new hero to support.
- OR you can skip the above steps, and fill out the form below, then take a photo of the application
- with your camera phone or scan it into an email, and send it to
Please make sure however you apply ,you read the OPSEC flyer
above so we are all on the same page about confidentiality…which is very
important to us and your adopted hero. Your information is kept
confidentially too and never shared with anyone. Anyone violating OPSEC,
can no longer pariticpate in the program and may have to be reported to authorities.
If you prefer not to adopt at this time , we could really use your help sharing
this need with others as supporting our troops in the war zone can help prevent isolation,
depression,even reduce effects of PTSD. Share this page on any website, blog
or in the media as we can all support our troops somehow.
Or just share our flyer above. That can be a tremendous help .
We welcome everyone here at Homefront Hugs and leave the politics at the door
because our amazing veterans and troops come from all walks of life like us ,
protecting all our freedoms daily and at all costs .
NATIONAL CARD SHORTAGE… we are hoping everyone across the USA will join us in writing heartfelt cards and notes to our heroes wishing our heroes all the best health,happiness and safety – sending some real Homefront Hugs ! We need to already start collecting for all the holidays !
Meet Sophie...our newest volunteer making a card for her hero
******************** We just need simple letters, notes, drawings from children and adults for our wounded and our deployed veterans. We don’t care if you handwrite your note on the back of a paper bag. We cannot explain enough what it means to a soldier or a wounded hero to know you took the time to sit down, grab a pen and write from your heart even if it just a few sentences.
- PLEASE do not buy an expensive store bought card and just sign it, buy one if it is easier, but add a few notes…
- And PLEASE do not send us mass mailings of postcards with no more than a signature and a few words…..
- Instead, make it feel like a real HUG from home .
- We leave politics at the door and have no left and right here when supporting our men and women in uniform.
- We respect and honor our troops from all religions or none.
- We know our heroes come from all types of loving families and relationships too and respect their freedoms to love whom they wish.
- Our troops come from all races.cultures and we remain considerate and sensitive to their needs and religious days they may celebrate as well.
- These are all the freedoms our troops fight for daily and veterans have been willing to lay their lives down for these rights .
- Our amazing Homefront Hugs volunteers reflect the same unity and compassion, leaving all divisiveness at our door.
- Not sure what to write? Keep reading below.
Send your personal letters or
Homefront Hugs USA
1881 West Liberty St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Morale is critical and we are stil at war. Your letters and support help prevent depression, isolation and even triggers to PTSD and more serious mental health issues.
You DO make a difference.****
YES , you can put all your cards in one envelope…but please whether it is one envelope or a bunch of cards…label clearly on each envelope or card WHO it is for please…
” For a Wounded Hero “ ” For a Hero Nurse” ” For a Deployed Hero “ ” For a Hero Doctor “ ” For a Hero Medic” ” For a Sick Veteran” **** This saves us enormous time so we don’t have to OPEN your card and envelope . You can include your email, address, even a postcard stamped with your return address for them to write you back…And by labeling these, we know where these go, either to :
Operation Healing Angel (for our wounded and hero staff )
or Homefront Hero Hugs (for our deployed) ************ ****************
” But what do I write?
It’s so much easier to just sign
a card or just write thanks ! “
- Tell your hero about YOU, your day, family,your pets, your town -
- Tell him or her why you are grateful…did you ever meet a vet?
- Did someone in your family serve?
- Do you like your freedoms and living in peace?
- Are you thankful there have been no repeats of 9/11?***
- Talk about your job, the weather, share some jokes, a prayer,some inspiration, a quote,
- Share even a photo…your pets and kids.
- Talk about something that happened in your town, share a magaizne article or newspaper clipping.
- Try to keep your letters or notes positive. *
- Share some humor or daily activities to take their mind off war for a while..
- Tell them about how your health is or ask them what they do to stay healthy or sane?
- Make your letter fun or interesting…share the latest concert you went to…movie you saw…
- Share what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, treat your note like a journal as you get comfortable
- And if you don’t handwrite your note…at least handSIGN your letters…
SPECIAL THANKS !! Special Thanks to Toby Keith and Jewel for helping us get the word out about adoptions !
Every star who has access to millions following can help us with a shout out but few do…and it will be helping make
sure NO hero is forgotten. Toby has been helping us for years quietly and never wanted any recognition or thanks …**
Homefront Hugs to you Toby
and Jewel ! xo
Our volunteers come from all professions and walks of life and none is more important than another…
but we do thank our latest volunteers above as they have helped encourage more Americans to help
and adopt !
ANOTHER HUGE NEED = FAMILY ADOPTIONS SO FUN , REWARDING and INEXPENSIVE :****
- We have military families who need adoption during a deployment or with a wounded hero at home for 6 month min, and only 1 lift me up care package a month is needed.
- This monthly package is for morale and to feel like a hug and there are plenty of ideas on the application and from us,just ask.
- You are not paying their bills or helping them out monetarily as we know times are tough for everyone. We have resources of other organizations we can share for that right here on our web site.
- You are instead lifting morale, helping them know they are not forgotten, and actually helping our troops who will rest easier knowing that someone cares about their loved ones so they can focus on their missions.. You will become their hero and long-distance friend.
Sometimes adopting the family, is the best gift you can give our troops so they can focus on their mission.
- stickers for children (Smilemakers is a super site)
- small gift cards under $5-10 (iTunes for teens, Starbucks for Mom or Dad or Grandma & or Grandpa caring for the family while Mom or Dad are deployed….this happens often)
- monthly magazine subscriptions (Family Fun, Oprah, Self, National Geographic, Ranger Rick,etc.)
- body lotion like Philosophy or L’Occitane
- flameless candles
- cards, humor, handmade letters (or even drawings from your children if you do this as a family to family project in 2014)
- music, movies on DVD
- decorations for different holidays they celebrate (we try to find out what those are for you and their religion if they wish to share )
- phone calls or emails to lift spirits
- homebaked goods
A Michigan Military Family Grins for the Camera
BEST TIPS ON CARE PACKAGES WHEN ADOPTING A HERO WITH US
As you know, we need VOLUNTEERS to adopt troops- please consider this as you see all the guidance here of how to pack items- and what type of items we can send if you adopt a hero or have a loved one serving !
These are just IDEAS in case we don’t get any from the soldier him or herself. We do NOT expect you to spend your life savings buying things for the care packages.
A care package can be a magazine , a letter or card and some gum…..it is meant to be a support to lift morale…a real Homefront Hug from home.
- This is ONE of the large FLAT RATE box you can send for $15.45 and pack up to 70 pounds of goodies . There is also a long LARGE flat rate that is the same price .
Packing Care Packages and Obtaining Supplies
The number to USPS is : 1-800-ASK-USPS or 1-800-275-8777 The website is : www.usps.com You can always order the APO Flat Rate care kit and it includes everything to begin a care package and the cheapest way to send items to APO or FPO addresses….though your local post office has them all sizes or use your own box if it will be light under 10 pounds.
IF YOU ARE WAITING to hear back from us, start writing your card or letter and packing your box or manila envelope with a magazine and some gum…Remember anyone can add to your care package but once assigned your hero, you cannot share the address of your military family or soldier due to OPSEC .
1. You can order (but only by phone at 1-800-610-8734, option #1)*****
2. You can also order ”Flat Rate” boxes (mimimum 25) online.
COST of supplies: FREE
3. Always treat your USPS mail workers like Corrine in Ann Arbor
well because they
have great tips and are so helpful…
- A typical package for Homefront Hugs heroes
Most Requested Practical Items for Deployed Troops:
- baby wipes,baby wipes,baby wipes
- stickers to send home to kids because it can be put in an envelope and shipped for free (Order from Smilemakers -they support our troops)
- ziplock bags, vinyl and plastic
- dryer sheets for keeping bed bugs out
- lip balm/chapstick
- sunscreen (at least with SPF of 25 even in winter)
- Avon Skin So Soft (a super bug repellent) for summer
- eye drops
- cough droops
- nasal spray
- medicated creams especially for sunburns
- Neosporin and waterproof bandages
- Bengay for sore muscles
- Extra stamps and medium sized envelopes so they can send more because only 1 ounce is free then they have to add stamps..get forever holiday stamps or history or scenes of USA
- Blank Journals to keep private diary
- pens and thin and thick colored markers
- combs and brushes
- toothpaste and toothbrushes
- plastic travel cases for toothbrush and soap
- deodorant (no aerosol spray)
- razors especially Gillette Pro Glide for Men
- after shave lotion
- Foot powder
- body lotion
- bar soap
- VISINE eye drops
- cotton balls
- Bug Spray with Deet (non-aerosol) for summer
- nail files
- Beef Jerky
- brown or beige socks
- baseball hats and bandanas
- B12,Vitamin C, and D3 Vitamins
- Lever 2000 body wipes
- Small and Large Plastic Ziplock bags
- (to keep the sand out which gets into everything)
- Fly Swatter/Fly strips
- Small Battery Powered Fans
- Thin TWIN Fitted and loose Summer sheets to keep cool in white,green,brown,black or blue
- soft travel neck pillows
(check REI,Amazon and any travel store like Brookstone)
- hand and foot warmers especialluy through winter found cheapest at Amazon
| FREEDOM is so easily taken for granted…join us and say thanks today !
- Co-Founder and President Ed helping pack care packages since age 3, a USAF dependent
Packing Homefront Hugs Care Packages in General
Make a Fun New Year's Package for your Hero
- Most Requested Stress-Relief Items for Deployed Troops:
- Tabasco sauce or a gourmet hot sauce (help those MRE’s taste better!)
- soft pillow cases and even travel blankets
(hint: GET A WHITE PILLOW CASE AND WRITE SOME MESSAGES IN
PERMANENT INK ON THE CASE …THEY’LL LOVE IT !)
- filled trest bags or pillows with treats
- Candy and chocolate that can be sent through April especially
- your leftover Halloween or Easter Candy !
- blank fun and romantic cards for family
- stickers, pens, paper, blank cards , envelopes for writing kids and
- add a book of stamps if you can, because if it is over a 1 ounce,
- they have to pay for mailing and add a stamp !
- pump to inflate balls
- colored markers to decorate letters and PERMANENT MARKERS
- hard candy/hard mints
- Magazines (get yourself a subscription and then pack them in care packages )
- holiday decorations…of all kinds …(always ask what religion they are first)
- Homemade cards and photos of you,your kids,your life
- Sweet-tarts,movie candy in large sizes
- catalogs to order treats for kids if they have children or spouses (Victoria’s Secret is a favorite for all)
- frisbees (glow-in-the-dark a favorite)
- Protein Bars esp PRO Bars and Builders (favorites)
- playing cards
- granola bars
- Body Lotion
- Holiday decorations
- mixed nuts and dried fruit
- Tootsie Pops
- Little Debbie Snack Cakes
- (The troops tell us Gatorade is sometimes too plentiful so send anything else
- or the PURPLE kind !)
- Crystal Light and Koolaid Powdered drink mix
- Pretzels in a cannister
- Slim Jims Individually Wrapped in a cannister
- BEEF JERKY
- Tuna in a Vacuum Sealed Pouch
- Popcorn or Microwave Products
- Chex Mix
- Pop Tarts
- Dried Fruits
- Condiments in Pouches like ketchup,mayo,relish or mustard,sugar,cream for coffee
- Teas of all kinds and lemon juice
- local newspapers,tabloids,paperback books,comics
- (anything that brings some humor!)
- MagLites ( made in the USA) or flashlights (smaller the better)
- mini battery fans (for summer)
- Ipods and favorite cds
- batteries for all of the above
- jump ropes
- stress balls
- candles especially scented
- Handheld computer games (include batteries)
- DVDs used or new
- books or Kindles with books loaded
- Music CDs
- No chocolate or items with chocolate pieces which could melt (except between November through April )
- No pornographic materials
- No pork products of any kind
- No liquor
- No cigarettes
- No aerosol spray items
- Nothing that leaks
- No fresh fruit
- No living plants or animals
- No politics or negativity, downers – your mission is to keep them smiling !
Final Packing Tips :
Mark all packages and envelopes with “Homefront Hugs” if you are a volunteer participating in one of our programs – it will help the units expedite delivery and contact us if there is any problem with delivery . It will also let other soldiers know where they can go for support !
1. Items that could leak or melt in zip lock leak proof bags
2. If not using the free FLAT RATE care packages, use a small-medium sturdy corrugated box as free of markings as possible. Must be within size restrictions. It is better to send smaller boxes than one large box. For magazines, a large manila envelope is fine.
3. Use lots of newspapers, fill space with foam peanuts, bubble wrap, etc. to pack everything firmly in box and bubble paper and peanuts make it lighter when not using a flat rate box.
4. Use strong packing or shipping tape and use it generously to go around box both ways. We found ours cheapest through Amazon or we asked our USPS worker very nicely for a free roll of their priority tape sharing for whom these packages were…our heroes !
5. BIG Hint for Volunteers : If you want a reply, include a postcard with your address already on it….and place it in the inside of the box. Our troops do NOT need stamps , but be patient as they are in the middle of war and just a bit stressed. This will help them though to get the hint that you really want to hear back !
We also have a template letter we give you in case you have not heard back in a few months that is a fun and strong way to hint to your hero…you would really like to hear back !!
Remember even if you have an email address, time is limited for most online and it is used mainly for loved ones and family.
Exactly how to fill out Declaration Form at Homefront Hugs and now there are two versions, the smaller one is accepted too and the newest one !! :
- Order these and fill them out BEFORE you get to the post office
6. You will have to fill out a Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note as seen above, found at the US Post Office and it will need to include ( tip: fill this out before you get there so pick up extras when you go):
- Brief list of items in box with value (undervalue if possible to prevent stealing- keep under $50)
- In upper left corner, write your complete return address so they know it’s safe to open with “Homefront Hugs Volunteer”
- In bottom left corner, please write: If the person has been redeployed, please give to chaplain
- What is the cost of postage? Postage is like mailing anything within the USA- you will be mailing it to a US address and thus just paying US postage and filling out the declaration form (found at the post office) as indicated in #6 above. The military then gets your package the rest of the way for free for you to our soldiers.
- You can mail a flat rate as cheaply as $5.95 and even cheaper if you just have an envelope with a magazine and that is called “media mail ” ( under $2) The Large flate rates now are $15.45.
- If the goodies just don’t fit in that size box- send two boxes…even shoeboxes or you can save the most using FLAT RATE USPS boxes as we do, just $15.45 for up to 70 pounds for the LARGE flat rate box. There are 2 types now..a long one for items that need length like posters and decorations, and a boxy Large flat rate. Order them in advance. Make life easier.
Our soldiers are so grateful for any support with so many needing a smile and hug from home…however small or big the goody boxes are. And please know you may not hear back from your hero for a while or just before they return home…depending how dangerous their mission is or how isolated they are.
And please, never rely on the USPS tracking to let you know a package has arrived there…as long as it does not come back, you are fine. Keep sending your packages every few weeks so your hero is supported and wrapped in hugs.
KIDS/TEENS/ TEACHERS !! Adopting a hero or family…. is a super project for vacations for your kids at home and for any organizations or for a high school volunteer project and as usual…we do give volunteer credit here for schools and colleges. Just ask about it. Email Adoptions@HomefrontHugs.org
Teachers,think about doing this with your classrooms too…our troops just love it ! We have lots of teachers who love doing this and even adopted a military family which helped their students truly understand the sacrifice. The thank you letters from the families will humble you. We have one teacher named Jodie at the Village School in Texas who just adopted her 2nd family because the kids had so much fun !
What about helping our wounded warriors?
Operation Healing Angel for our wounded troops and medical staff heroes is still going strong too…and whatever you choose…everyone should have a volunteer card of their own and we will send them to you if you do not have them already…for every child too….read more about Operation Healing Angel on its own page above.
Thanks so much for supporting our wounded veterans healing in hospitals and those at home.
Just email us at info@HomefrontHugs.org
Remember you can do this all from home and we will help you with whatever you feel like doing to thank our heroes or yours !
Now in our 13th year…we’ve got the hang of this at Homefront Hugs USA and during your adoption you have direct access to our President/Founder Alessandra through email with any questions or if guidance is needed ! Just remember, she has no staff…so give her a little time…she has a family too…we are all volunteers here. And a little hint: If you really want to give her a smile, just say these words..” GO BLUE ! “