While my father only spent 4 years of my childhood in the Army, those four years were so big, so full of importance that they overshadowed my entire childhood – long after we returned to civilian life, the Army remained a part of our lives.
I grew up hearing stories about the military from my father and grandfather, and watched with envy as my uncles, aunt and various cousins joined the armed forces. I recall being in the 8th grade, reading about WWII in American history class and having an epiphany: I wanted to join the Marines.
Unfortunately, that never came to fruition, but I did do the next best thing; I married a United States Marine.
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the United States Armed Forces, even after my husband left the Marines 7 years ago. Well, I shouldn’t say “left” the Marines, because he still works for them – as a civilian contractor. Year after year, we donate toys to the Toys for Tots toy drive run by the Marine Corp Reserves in Miami. I’ve spent many an evening home alone while he fixed something for someone at the joint forces command where he works.
When my best friend was sent to Iraq – twice – I sent carefully packed boxes, full of Stephen King books, the latest Alternative Rock Bank CDs, Little Debbie snacks, and of course, cigarettes. Quite a few of my husband’s old Marine Corp buddies have been sent overseas, whether it be to Afghanistan or Iraq, and I am always thankful – because I know the sacrifice their families are making. If my husband wasn’t offered a job too good to refuse when his re-enlistment was due, he would still be in the Marines, and that lonely wife waiting at home for her soldier to call? Well, that could have been me.
Did you know that there are currently more than 1.4 million active duty military members? Those men and women in the military are supported by more than 3.6 million family members, and 70 percent of married active duty military members have children. Those are literally millions of spouses and children that are separated from their loved ones while they honor their commitment to protect our country.
Right now, Cheerios® and the USO are partnering to send “Cheer” to military families to not only encourage them, but to thank them for their commitment to our country. Through the Cheerios sendCheer campaign, specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal will feature “Cheer” postcards, which can be cut out and mailed to military families through a partnership with the USO.
But that’s not all – for each postcard received, Cheerios will donate $1 to the USO to help support programs for military families. If you have ever been in the military or know a family with a deployed soldier, then you are aware of how financially crippling a deployment can be for a family. Cheerios has already donated $150,000 and will donate up to an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received by November 30, 2012!
How Does the Send Cheer Campaign Work?
Purchase a specially marked Cheerios cereal box from your local grocery store – I heard that Walmart will have a full supply! Once you get your box home:
- Cut out the postcard found on the front of the box. You will see cut out lines around the “Cheer” in the Cheerios logo.
- On the back-side of the postcard, write a message of encouragement or a simple “thank you.”
- Add postage, and drop the pre-addressed post card in the mail.
Once the postcards are received, the USO will distribute them to military families on bases and in USO centers. Sending your ‘thanks’ is a simple, personal gesture of appreciation that will mean so much for the recipient.
You can learn more about the Send Cheer campaign on the Cheerios Facebook page. What are you waiting for? Go check it out!
*This post has been compensated as part of a sponsored charitable opportunity for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own. Semper Fi!