ARLINGTON, Va., May 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the USO kicks off a dedicated, monthlong effort to express gratitude for our Armed Forces and their families. Military Appreciation Month is an opportunity to highlight how the military is both being impacted by and called upon to help the world combat COVID-19 and to recognize the many sacrifices made to protect our freedom and safety.
This pandemic is creating additional hardships for the military community. Service members and military families are facing the issues that many Americans are facing right now – unemployment, lack of childcare and food insecurity – all while also continuing to serve and leave home to perform missions and support crisis response efforts in the U.S. and across the globe. Many families are also facing longer deployments or separations from home and displacement due to quarantines and stop move orders.
"Every day provides a new set of unique challenges for our service men and women and their families, with or without a global pandemic. The USO is unwavering in our mission to find a way to be there for our Armed Forces, just as they are there for us," said Dr. J.D. Crouch II, USO CEO and president. "Our teams, including our 30,000 volunteers and our partners, are developing and rapidly deploying alternative methods to deliver our best-in-class support to our frontline troops around the world."
The USO has mobilized quickly to stay aligned with the needs of military service members as they go to war against this invisible enemy. Due to quarantines and isolations in the past six weeks, requests for USO expeditionary support have significantly increased. The USO has delivered more than 15,000 care packages and 20 USO2GO kits, which can include everything from furniture and electronics to gaming and music equipment. These packages also include toiletries, food and other necessities that keep our service men and women revitalized and provide them with a few comforts of home.
Mobile USO units have been deployed across the country to COVID-19 hotspots, working closely with the National Guard Bureau to provide food, beverages and hygiene items to guardsmen in more than 25 states. USO teams have also aided USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. While military medical teams are stepping in to help care for COVID-19 patients, the USO is providing supplies and amenities – from toiletry kits, comfort foods and gym equipment – as a tangible way of supporting and saying thank you to the U.S. Armed Forces for what they are doing.
Guam has been an area heavily impacted by the pandemic, including sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The USO has provided more than 3,000 hygiene and nonperishable snack care packages and has contributed 20,000 masks, 3,000 KN95 masks and 300 protective suits to the coordinated effort – all of which have been delivered in coordination with the military. Meals are also being provided for military personnel on the logistics and medical teams working long shifts to care for sailors.
The USO thanks the many donors and corporate partners who have stepped up to serve as a Force Behind the Forces® and support global efforts to combat COVID-19. Altria, The Coca-Cola Company, GEICO, General Mills, Jeep®, KIND, The Kroger Co., Lockheed Martin, Lowe's, National Football League, Northrop Grumman, USAA, Verizon as well as John and Melinda Baum, the Friese Foundation, The Marvin and Madeline Gussman Family Foundation, the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation and other supporters have provided significant donations and in-kind support to aid the USO's critical mission.
"As the COVID-19 crisis evolves from relief to recovery, additional support is needed to address emergent military requests and counter the long-term effects the crisis will have on military families, transitioning service members and the National Guard in particular," said Lisa Anastasi, USO chief development and marketing officer.
Visit USO.org/coronavirus to learn more about how the military is being impacted and how to help. Organizations and companies can contact [email protected] to learn more about how they can support the USO's Combat COVID-19 efforts.
Military supporters can join in the USO's ranks of thanks by helping in the following ways:
- May 5: #GivingTuesdayNow
In response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, May 5 will serve as a global day of giving and unity. Here are three ways to support the military:
1. Take to your social media channels and tell us why and how you choose to #BeTheForce. Share your military supporter story with us and the world.
2. Give thanks by sharing a message of support and encouragement to service members.
3. Donate what you can to help USO programs and services that provide care, comfort and connection to service members and military families.
- May 8: Military Spouse Appreciation Day
Recognize a military spouse you know. Use the USO social media graphic to thank them for their hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
- May 10: Mother's Day
Get a USO virtual card to send to a military mom you know to say that you are thinking about them and their family.
- May 16: Armed Forces Day
Serve as a Force Behind the Forces® and share the USO PSA to encourage others to #BeTheForce.
- May 25: Memorial Day
#HonorFromHome and post photos or messages of thanks on social media for the sacrifices of service members and their families.
Visit USO.org/may to learn more about these opportunities and how to get involved.
In times of crisis, our military consistently steps up to protect Americans. It is our duty as military supporters to strengthen and support those who serve. During this unprecedented time of social distancing, quarantines and isolation, the USO's mission of strengthening service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country is more critical than ever before. Military supporters around the world can show their appreciation for our troops and their families during the month of May to thank this community for their dedication to keeping us safe.
About the USO:
The USO strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Director, Integrated Planning & Marketing