Military Support

Give Gratitude with These Letter-Writing Tips.

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In the days of online information overload, there’s something about receiving a letter that shows someone truly cares. It takes time and thought to write a letter, and for deployed soldiers who are serving their country away from their loved ones, receiving a heartfelt note can provide a welcome dose of gratitude and optimism.


Whether you’re sending a letter to someone you know or to a person you’ve never met, it can be challenging to find the right words. Consider the following tips before you start writing:


 


Starting your letter


When you’re writing to a family member or friend, you simply address the letter to them. But how do you write to someone you’ve never met?


Operation Gratitude coordinates letters for deployed troops, veterans, wounded heroes and caregivers, first responders, and new recruits. They suggest starting your letter with “Dear Hero” or “Dear Brave One.” Other appropriate salutations include “Dear Soldier” or “Dear Service Member.”


Many letter writing sites ask that you not date the letter. Coordinating this effort takes time. It could take months to receive and review letters or bundle them with care packages.


The team of letter writers for Soldiers’ Angels says to keep the content of the letter light and positive. This is a perfect opportunity to share your support for those serving our country.


 


What to say


You probably don’t have any details on the person to whom you are writing. That’s OK! There are plenty of topics you can touch on to make your letter interesting and sincere. 


Take time to introduce yourself. If you are a member of a military family, let them know. Share the hobbies you enjoy and what you do in your free time. Talk about life at home or work but remember to keep it positive. Without getting too personal, share stories about your family, kids, or pets.


There are plenty of common topics to discuss, such as sports, seasonal activities, current events, entertainment, travel, or the weather. Gather some recent or upcoming events and activities from your community calendar to share.


Consider including uplifting quotes to help show your thanks, encouragement, and appreciation! Let the recipient know why you are writing to them and thank them for their service.


 


Things to remember


When you are composing your letter, be sure to write in a conversational tone, just like when you are talking. This helps to make the letter easy to read and keeps the content personable. Use words, phrases, and stories that show your personality. It’s also OK to ask questions in the letter, just as if you were talking in person. 


As a reminder, it’s important to avoid including a date on your letter. It may take months for a soldier to receive it. Also, if sending many cards or letters at once, avoid putting them in individual envelopes. The letters have to be screened and taking them out of envelopes slows down the process.


If you are writing to someone you do not know, don’t include too much personal information.


You might want to write, but just can’t find the words. Remember, there are other ways to share your appreciation. Keep your note short and sweet and include photos or drawings instead. Artwork by children is especially cherished! 


And remember, the letter does not have to be long—just genuine, encouraging, and positive. The thought that you are taking the time to compose a letter and share your support, regardless of how long you write, mean so much to deployed service members.


 


Letter writing resources


If you don’t already have a soldier to write to, but you want to offer words of encouragement and appreciation to members of the military, there are several services available that coordinate letter writing.


Mentioned previously, Soldiers’ Angels offers programs that support deployed service members, veterans, wounded heroes, and military families. The organization is assisted by teams of dedicated volunteers. Its letter writing team commits to writing letters to deployed soldiers for at least a three month duration. Some of these soldiers don’t receive letters from home, so receiving a letter from Soldiers’ Angels makes a tremendously positive impact while they are deployed. 


Soldiers’ Angels Cards Plus Team specifically sends cards and notes to service members celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Cards also can be sent for encouragement, new babies, returning home, or get well soon.


Operation Gratitude, also mentioned above, sends more than 300,000 care packages annually to first responders and military. The letters included in these packages are overwhelmingly the recipients most cherished items. The organization accepts letters all year, and even provides teachers with materials to start letter writing in their classes.


Sandboxx makes it easy to lift the morale of service members facing the rigors of basic training. By relying on the abundance of technology at our fingertips, this service allows users to effortlessly compose letters from a smartphone or computer with next-day delivery. Sandboxx sends letters quickly and efficiently, with no need to remember addresses or buy stamps. The letters arrive on base the next day and include custom stationary with a pre-addressed envelope so your cadet can respond back with no hassle. To date, Sandboxx has sent more than 3 million letters to basic training. 


 


Other letter writing organizations include:



 


Taking the time to write a letter is an easy and highly valuable way to connect with a deployed soldier serving their country. Sharing your thanks in a note or letter will make a world of difference to the recipient! Hopefully these tips gave you enough inspiration but just remember that every word is meaningful to our service members.