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Groups Gear Up to Send Valentines to Troops

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2008 - Hearts at home are gearing up to connect with hearts overseas through an America Supports You effort to send valentines to servicemembers.

The effort is part of the America Supports You program's calendar that provides a year's worth of ways to show appreciation for U.S. troops and their families. America Supports You is a Defense Department initiative that helps to showcase America's support for the troops and their families.

"Every February, loved ones exchange flowers, candy and cards, but for troops overseas who are separated from the ones they love, Valentine's Day can be hard," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison.

To meet postal deadlines for sending packages overseas, America Supports You home-front groups are gearing up now for February activities. Groups planning to send valentines to troops include Hugs for Soldiers, My Soldier, and Operation Pinecone.

Supporters can learn more about these groups and other groups, as well as find other ideas to support the troops, on the America Supports You Web site, www.americasupportsyou.mil. Organizations sending valentines can be found by clicking on "Letters and Messages."

The America Supports You calendar, which can be downloaded from the "New Year's Resolution" link on the site as a portable document format file or to work with the user's Outlook program, provides a new idea each month for ways to show military men and women support.

Ideas in the calendar include donating to scholarships in March to help military families trying to plan for educational costs, or participating in a "Month of the Military Child" event in April. Organizing a local "America Supports You Freedom Walk" is the suggestion for September. Freedom walks commemorate victims of Sept. 11, 2001, and honor veterans, past and present.


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