Onward and Upward
Eventually you'll have sent off a few letters and care packages, will be an experienced Angel. Then you may start thinking, "This isn't enough. I want to do more."
(If your life is so busy that you don't want to do more, stop reading. It's OK. We don't want to pressure you to overextend yourself. My feeling is that anyone doing ANYTHING of service to others is doing so much more than most. Don't feel guilty if you aren't spending every single second working on Soldiers' Angels plus visiting the local nursing home, being a classroom parent, planting trees, parenting foster children, parenting your own kids, reading to the blind, serving up stew at the homeless shelter, and working on your doctoral thesis. No matter how much you'd like to, you can't save the world on your own. If Patti herself couldn't support every deployed soldier, you certainly can't.)
However, if you DO want to take on something else, there are options.
First of all, you can adopt another soldier. Please go to the adoption page or e-mail if you want to adopt a second soldier.
Letter Writing Team / Wounded TLC Team
If you want to write letters but don't feel like you can afford a second set of packages, and if you've been an Angel for more than six months, you can join either the Letter Writing Team or the Wounded TLC team. Each member of the Letter Writing Team gets a new soldier every week. These are soldiers who have been signed up but may or may not have already been assigned an Angel. Your letter is not the introduction to your life that your first letter to "your" soldier would be, just a "Hi there, thanks for everything, I support you, keep up the good work," sort of thing. You don't have to write another letter to that person. I'll warn you though, as a member of the LWT, if your soldier of the week writes back, you often do write more. I'm in long-term contact with three people who were LWT weeklies. You'll often see people on the lists saying they are the "Official Angel" to so-and-so and "Unofficial Angel" to such-and-such. A lot of unofficial adoptions happen that way.
LWT Coordinator -
The Wounded TLC team does the same thing for the wounded, sending letters to soldiers at the military hospitals. If you don't feel up to any more writing, but like to talk on the phone, and if you get free long distance or have a lot of extra minutes on your cell phone, or have VOIP, the Wounded TLC team also calls soldiers at the hospitals. This is really cool. Also, if you live near a military hospital, the Wounded TLC team organizes visits to the hospitals. They pass out the cards the team has written, and donated things like books or phone cards, and home-made goodies. Again, with the Wounded TLC team, you do what you can at whatever level you can participate in.
Wounded TLC Team -
There are other projects. Do you knit or crochet? Operation Top Knot makes booties and hats for the newborn children of deployed soldiers. Do you sew? We need booties and mitts to help keep the extremities of wounded soldiers warm. Can you make a tied blanket? Tied blankets are so easy that even I can do them--crafty skills are not required. If so, you might want to get involved with Blankets of Hope, which makes lap blankets for the wounded. Are you good with the public? Would you like to organize a donation drive at your nearest Wal-Mart?
Blankets of Hope -
Operation Top Knot -
Project Thank You Notes
My favorite project is to set up a table somewhere and ask people to sign cards to send to the troops. I've done this in front of grocery stores and at public events like the local Independence Day parade, a Memorial Day celebration, and the Chicago Air and Water Show.
So far this year, I've sent over 3000 Thank You Notes overseas.
I got my start volunteering with petition signing, so card signing is something I'm used to and familiar with. What is your experience? What are your skills? What can you do? How can that benefit the troops? Think about it.