Thursday, May 23, 2013

3 Programs to Use During Deployment

There are tons of programs run by nonprofits, businesses, and organizations that are specifically designed to support and help deployed service members and their families during deployment.

Today, I'm highlighting the three that John and I found.  I didn't really use many programs or organizations while John was deployed. In fact, these were the only three that we purposefully sought out and utilized. All three of them were absolutely wonderful and helpful.

If you're looking for more programs than these three, there are many more online and on Pinterest. These, however, are top-notch programs that I can vouch for.

1. StarKist's "Tuna for Soldiers" Program.   As you may have gleaned from how much tuna I've sent John over the past year, he really, really likes it.  If you haven't seen them yet, StarKist makes single-serving, ready-to-eat, flavored tuna packets. They're not very expensive, but it does add up if you're buying them for a year. I emailed StarKist to see if they would throw some coupons my way. Instead, I received this email: 
"StarKist proudly salutes and supports the United States Troops. We appreciate your thinking of us and are gratified to know that our troops enjoy and use our products.We do have a "Tuna for Soldiers" program in which units that request it are sent StarKist Tuna pouch products. Product can only be sent to an APO or FPO Address. Please provide complete APO/FPO address information by email below....Thank you for your interest in StarKist and especially thanks for your bravery and support during these difficult times. Just know that all of us here at StarKist appreciate the efforts of our men and women in uniform."

Jackie, StarKist Consumer Affairs

I submitted John's name and address and forgot about it. About two months later, John emailed me and said he had received a giant box of tuna packets from StarKist. I can't tell you how much we both appreciated this exceptionally generous program. Pretty cool.

2. Free Photo Book from the USO and RocketLife. When I saw this pop on (where else?) Pinterest, I was skeptical. I was sure the the offer had probably expired or that I wouldn't be able to run the application on my elderly laptop. I tried it out on the off chance that it might work and created a photo book of all of our engagement photos (which John hadn't seen yet). The website was easy to navigate and it was just as easy to put the book together. It took about 2-3 weeks for John to receive it. And yes, it was completely, utterly free. Click here to go to the site.

3. Cup of Joe for a Joe. If you have someone serving overseas (it doesn't need to be in a war-zone), encourage them to sign up for the Green Beans Cafe's Cup of Joe for a Joe program. The program matches micro-donations from civilians in the States of cups of coffee and bags of coffee (and personal notes of encouragement) to deployed members of the military. John signed up for the program at the beginning of his year and has been treated to quite a few cups of coffee from kind folks during his deployment.
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