The American public rallied in support of America’s troops in 2007, delivering more than $1.7 million in aid through Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) troop support initiatives.
Calls home were a priority, as everyday Americans sent $1,257,956 in communication support through AAFES’ “Help Our Troops Call Home” effort. With average contributions topping $104,000 each month, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and their families who received 550-minute Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone cards through the program enjoyed 551,731 minutes of complimentary communication every month in 2007.
“Phone cards through ‘Help Our Troops Call Home’ offer calls from Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait for as low as 19 cents a minute,” said AAFES’ Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Eaton. “Troops and the American public understand that Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone cards offer compelling value when placing calls from the Middle East. Because of this, AAFES has seen the telecommunication effort gain momentum year after year since its inception in April 2004.”
To help offset the expense of keeping the home front connected to the front lines, the American public has now sent 249,107 phone cards totaling nearly $6M through the “Help Our Troops Call Home” campaign.
AAFES’ “care package” initiative dubbed “Gifts from the Homefront” also saw increased interest last year as contributions of individual certificates jumped more than 10 percent with the American public sending 20,474 Base and Post Exchange certificates worth $487,345. The certificates, which can be redeemed at exchange facilities worldwide including more than 50 BX/PXs throughout Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, make it easy for any American to leverage the exchange benefit of behalf of troops and their families.
“Since its inception in March 2003, troops have redeemed 62,648 “Gifts from the Homefront” gift certificates for movies, snacks, magazines and more,” said Eaton. “Besides the ability to personalize their care package, troops tell me that gift certificates are especially handy because, unlike chocolate bars and electronics sent through the mail, they don’t melt or break before reaching the contingency theater.”
Available through http://www.aafes.org and toll free numbers (800-527-2345 for “Help Our Troops Call Home” and 877-770-4438 for “Gifts from the Homefront”), both gift certificates and phone cards can be sent to specific military families or routed to “any servicemember” through a number of charitable partners including the American Red Cross and Fisher House.