By Danielle DeSimone
This Halloween, instead of carving pumpkins, handing out candy, or watching their little ones dress up to trick or treat, thousands of service members will be far from home doing what they do best — protecting our country, like they do every day.
Because missing out on Halloween family time is the worst kind of trick, we need your help to send a few treats from the USO Wishbook to service members this fall as a sign of gratitude for the immense sacrifices they make every single day of the year.
The USO does all the work of packaging and sending these treats out – you just have to choose which ones to send:
1. Comfort Food Packages
For most of us, autumn means pumpkin pie, apple cider donuts, Halloween candy and giant feasts of roasts, soups and casseroles. But for service members deployed far from family and friends, it’s just another reminder of all the food-centered celebrations they are missing back home.
While it’s nearly impossible to mail plated holiday meal to troops serving on the front lines, supporters like you can easily donate a comfort food package to provide service members with a small, well-deserved treat featuring the iconic tastes of home.
2. USO2GO Kit
Not all service members can easily pop into their local USO for a Halloween party or seasonal treat. Many troops are deployed to remote and desolate duty stations, making it difficult to visit any of the USO’s 230+ locations around the world. However, with your generous donation, they can still enjoy all the goodness of a USO location with the gift of a USO2GO kit.
USO2GO kits, which are designed to create a home-like environment for service members working downrange, come equipped with items such as comfortable furniture, televisions, music equipment, snacks and games. This Halloween, as we approach the holiday season, you can help provide these service members with all they need to create a space to relax and unwind during an otherwise difficult time apart from their friends and family.
3. Phone calls home
For many military families with a deployed service member, holidays like Halloween are just another reminder of the distance between them and their loved one serving far from home. In fact, research shows that the number one concern among military members and their spouses is the amount of time service members spend away from home.
While supporters like you can’t send a service member home on October 31, you can help provide troops with a way to spend a few moments connecting with their loved ones over the phone. Although nothing can replace physically being with family and friends, your support can help create a different moment of connection for a service member this Halloween.
4. Game Night
There aren’t many opportunities for service members to bob for apples, wander through a corn maze or go pumpkin picking while deployed overseas. However, that doesn’t mean they have to skip out on all the fun and games this Halloween season.
With a donation from supporters like you, the USO can purchase board games to create a classic game night for service members working far from home. Game nights provide service members with a fun and relaxing moment to unwind, enjoy each other’s company and enjoy a bit of downtime along the front lines. Plus, studies show that board games can help build community and improve mental health!
5. Long Distance Bedtime Stories
There’s nothing better than reading a spooky ghost story to your little ones on Halloween night. But for military children with a deployed parent, holidays like Halloween often come and go without a special moment like this.
That’s where you – and the USO’s Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program – can make a difference.
With your donation, you can ensure that service members will be able to participate in the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program. Each gift funds one recording of a service member reading a bedtime story on camera to send home to their children, along with a copy of the book.
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