The USO provides services that deliver America to our overseas military community including travel assistance, libraries, educational workshops, child care, foreign language courses, recreational lounges, family crisis intervention and celebrity entertainment.
How do you help people in my community?
More than 1.4 million troops are currently deployed, which means more than 1.4 million families need our support. Whether it’s keeping families connected through Operation Phone Home, to giving a child the opportunity to watch their parent read them a bedtime story through United Through Reading’s Military Program, to being there to welcome them home, the USO is there to support military families.
With more than 160 locations worldwide, from USO Las Vegas to USO Kandahar in Afghanistan, USO centers serve as community outposts where troops know they can go to connect with home. In addition to providing a place to relax, activities and snacks, troops can phone home for free, use the Internet and even record themselves reading a book to their child though United Through Reading’s Military Program. Centers help maintain the vital connection between our troops and their loved ones serving with them back home.
Military families bear the burden of service while their family member is away and the USO recognizes their sacrifices with programs and services designed to meet their unique needs. With You All the Way and the Sesame Street/USO Experience address the issues military children face when a parent deploys and help them cope with their feelings. The USO also helps troops send Military Care packages to their families once their deployment begins to let their family members know they are thinking of them.
Many troops return home with visible and invisible wounds, facing different battles as they assimilate back into their normal lives. The USO’s goal to create a “community of care” will give wounded warriors and their families the best chance for better lives. The USO initiated Operation Enduring Care, a fundraising effort to raise $100 million to dedicate to non-medical care needed from the time of the injury through the journey to recovery. These funds will help build two new centers -- at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and at Ft. Belvoir in Virginia -- to heal and meet the non-medical needs of wounded warriors and their families. More than a traditional USO center, these buildings, encompassing 25,000 square feet each, are the largest initiative undertaken by the USO since its inception in 1941. The USO’s commitment doesn’t end there. After recovery, our Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Workshops assist military veterans with honing their career development skills as they reintegrate into their communities and become productive civilian employees. Their caregivers need support, too, so our Caregivers Conference gathers spouses, parents and others supporting wounded warriors to share advice, information and hope with each other.
Why do you need my support?
The USO depends heavily on the support of individuals and we receive an average donation of $35. These contributions make it possible for the USO to accomplish its mission.
Every day, our heroes in uniform put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we hold so dear. Our troops are serving in desolate locations, dealing with multiple deployments and missing their families and friends back home. Whether stationed in the mountains of Afghanistan or recovering courageously in a hospital in Germany, our troops and their families deserve the very best we can give.
That’s why the USO is committed to sharing a touch of home with our troops wherever they serve -- from free phone cards to care packages, to entertainment tours or just a simple hug.
Every contribution makes a difference in the lives of our troops and their families:
- $25 can provide 70 phone calls to loved ones back home
- $51 can help 6 deployed parents read their children a bedtime story
- $100 can provide 30 troops a snack and place to rest in USO centers on the front line
The USO is not a government agency. It relies on the generosity of the American people to fulfill its mission – people just like you. Your tax-deductible donation will help support our troops, lift their spirits and honor their service.
How can I be sure that you will use my money wisely and won't waste it?
The USO is recognized by the BBB and received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator—you can trust the USO to put mission first and always do the right thing. The USO maximizes the value of your donation to ensure that our troops and their families feel the impact of every dollar. We’re proud that 89% of our resources go directly to USO programs and we’re constantly becoming more efficient in delivering goodness to our dedicated service and family members throughout the world.
Can I Volunteer? How?
Millions of times each year at hundreds of locations around the world, the USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families. Thousands of volunteers play a critical role in putting a smile on a visitor’s face, creating a home away from home, providing respite during a long trip, or reassuring a young soldier or spouse as they embark on the next phase of their journey. Since 1941, volunteers have been at the heart and soul of our service delivery, giving more than 1 million hours of support annually to our men and women in uniform and their loved ones.
Volunteers are critical to us achieving our mission. In the words of one military mom who wrote a thank you note after volunteers took care of her son, served him some food and covered him while he napped in a recliner in the center:
“Thanks for being there for my son when I couldn’t be.”
Volunteers work “on the ground” at 160 locations across the globe serving nearly 8 million visitors a year. However, volunteers can also participate in one of several “virtual” projects that are easy to implement and fun for the entire family no matter where you're located.
Visit www.usovolunteer.org to find a center near you or to sign up for a “virtual” project such as United Through Reading’s Military Program Book Drive, the Operation USO Care Package holiday letter writing campaign, the Joining Forces Initiative or Team USO. Also, check out the USO Wishbook, the most comprehensive alternative giving website that solely supports U.S. troops and their families. www.USOwishbook.uso.org features dozens of symbolic gift items that our troops and their families need most, so the public can support our military, as well as honor friends and relatives with a gift in their name.