We appreciate the feedback on the Care Package for female troops we’ve been seeing in the blogosphere. Jessica Valenti of Feministing and Kate Harding of Salon.com in particular have offered critiques of the program. Valenti even quotes directly from our own video of the event. Additional coverage in Stars & Stripes yielded a strong editorial response.
This is a good thing.
You see, we’ve been hearing from women service members since our Care Package program - Operation USO Care Package - began (that was about 2 million Care Packages ago). We listened carefully, and decided to try to create a package that answered their requests. The Care Package for Female Troops in its current version reflects what women told us they would like to have while serving overseas. Maybe we got it wrong, or maybe this is one of those good deeds that does not go unpunished. Either way, we don’t intend to guess. We routinely survey all Care Package recipients to find out what the troops actually want – not what we think they should have. We have and will continue to make adjustments to the program.
We are about to offer one more variation on a theme. Our Family Care Package will be sent to families of deployed troops. We do a great deal for men and women who are deployed, and we realized we need to focus on helping out those they leave behind. There will be a hiccup or two, but we will get it right. We cannot simply do nothing at all.