Dig Down and Give
Since the program’s inception in 2003, the USO has distributed more than 1.3 million care packages to deployed service members, and continues to distribute some 25,000 packages a month to troops around the world. The USO works closely with the Department of Defense to guide the distribution of care packages.
Monetary donations are used to purchase items directly from manufacturers and are shipped directly to the secured USO care package warehouse. Operation USO Care Package is recognized and supported by the Department of Defense.
Although the USO works closely with government and military officials, it is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, relying on contributions from individuals and corporations. The public can demonstrate their support of service members and their families by making a monetary donation to the USO.
Operation USO Care Package Contents
At a minimum, each care package includes a personalized message of support from the donor, an AT&T prepaid international phone card, snacks, playing cards, reading material, camo kits containing shampoo, conditioner, sun block, hand sanitizer, tooth paste, tooth brush, sunscreen and other requested and needed items.
Care packages are distributed at USO airport centers, at special “send off celebrations” for military personnel deploying overseas, and to those returning to overseas locations from rest and recuperation (R&R). In addition, the Operation USO Care Package office takes care package requests from deployed units, and makes every effort to fulfill requests on a first-come, first-served basis.
Due to the threat of anthrax following Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Defense suspended its practice of forwarding correspondence and individual care packages addressed to “Any Service Member.” In response, the USO of Metropolitan Washington created the Operation USO Care Package program to boost morale, and provide a safe and secure way for the public to show their support. Care packages contain items donated by or purchased directly from manufacturers in bulk. Security requirements prohibit the donation of individual items from the general public to include in the USO Care Packages.
Operation USO Care Package is approved by the White House and the Department of Defense due to the program’s strict adherence to security requirements.
Number of Care Packages Distributed
SECURITY ALERT: Due to security parameters set forth by the Department of Defense, the USO does not accept items from individuals to be included in the USO Care Packages.