The website AnySoldier.com has capitalized on Americans’ desire to uplift our military men and women overseas by providing the opportunity to send care packages filled with needed personal items.
Founded by Sgt. Brian Horn, an Army Infantry Soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, AnySoldier.com says generous Americans have used the service to brighten the days of nearly 100,000 personnel to date.
While serving in Iraq in 2003, Horn came up with the idea to receive packages addressed to “Any Soldier” and distribute them to buddies who were not getting much mail. The concept mushroomed from there.
States Horn on the website: “The Any Soldier campaign has seen tears from some, given hope to most, and has been inspirational to us all. Your relentless support has provided the simple reminder that any one of us would proudly die for a grateful nation in our ongoing fight against terrorism.”
According to the site, there are 3,465 military personnel “in harm’s way” who serve as contacts for the program. Those wishing to send a package go through the list of contacts, who represent four different armed services, and select one. The contact person will have posted information about what his or her colleagues most need or desire along with mailing information.
When that contact receives a package addressed to “Any Soldier,” he then gives it to a member of his unit who doesn’t receive much mail from home.
For those who can’t take the time to purchase items for a package, the site offers pre-packaged boxes for sale to send along. The packages are designed by Horn’s mother, Sue.
“You will note that most all the contacts mention that letters are the thing most prized to get,” the site explains to potential senders. “Expensive undershirts are nice, but not required. I can tell you for a fact that most soldiers find it difficult to even ask for support, to list what they need. It’s below them. Marines in particular find this really distasteful and most would rather die then ask for help. But they are all learning that this is about support, not just stuff, and they all appreciate that.”
Here is a sample of one contact’s information, written by Army Sgt. Ichel T. Salifu:
“We are in the Baghdad, Iraq, area and were wondering if we could get some supplies like toothpaste, bath soap, lotion, razors and socks — juices, microwavable food entrees from any of you good people supporting us. We will also like to make friends, sort of pen pals with anyone willing to write or receive letters or postcards from us. Thanks, and make God continue to bless America!”
The following note appears on one of the site’s pages:
“WARNING: Contents of this site are addictive. Persons using this site may be overcome with tears of sympathy or tears of joy. May also cause a sense of pride in our great nation and the fighting men and women who defend our freedom.”