For as long as soldiers have been serving away from their homes and loved ones, a package from home has always been an important reminder from those for whom the soldier is serving that shows their love and caring for the well-being of the troops. Those who are fighting in distant lands especially need the support and care of those who remain on the home front.
The ringing phrase from World War II, "Send a Salami to a Boy in the Army," is just one example of how a taste of home has been important throughout history to those who leave their homes in order to defend them.
The JWV SOS (Support Our Soldiers) program is the latest recognition of this desire to let those who are currently serving know that we on the home front are thinking of them and supporting them. Through this program the JWV sends packages, generally of toiletries and kosher food items to those who are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places of conflict throughout the globe. We also supply special foods and ritual items for those celebrating the Jewish holidays on the battlefield. The JWV can also customize packages to specific requests, such as those we have filled for coffee, packaged kosher meals, or items customized for special needs, such as an Oneg Shabbat.
Since 9/11, new rules have been put into effect to protect the security of our troops. Because of this heightened security, packages can be sent only to a specifically named service person with a specific APO or FPO address. No package will be delivered to "Any Soldier," for example.
Therefore, the JWV actively requests that members who know of soldiers who are currently serving send their names and APO addresses with or without specific package requests to JWV National Headquarters, 1811 R St., NW, Washington, DC 20009. We will send packages to all whose names we receive, regardless of religion. All are fighting to protect and serve us.
In order to support the program, we also request that donations be sent to National Headquarters at the address above. Donations should be made payable to the JWV and designated for the SOS program on the envelope and memo line of the check. We rely on the generous donations from our members and other supporters to sustain the acts of loving-kindness and tzedukah that are the basis of our SOS program.
Our hearts are warmed by the expressions of thanks that we have received from those who have been the recipients of our packages. The letter below, received from Rabbi Mitchell Schranz, former Jewish Chaplain in Iraq, as he prepared to leave that battleground, sums up the feelings engendered in the troops by our program.
Thank you so much for all your support, concern & love for the Troops. Also, many thanks for all you do for our Veterans. They are a very special group of men & women.
It was an honor to serve our people here in Iraq.
Chaplain Mitch Schranz
The JWV hopes that all echelons will share in the honor of helping to support those troops who are defending and protecting us.