Operation Hero Miles provides a way for you to help our troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan by donating your unused frequent flyer miles. Efforts are underway to make the donated miles more broadly available to all U. S. military personnel.

The Blue Star Moms is a support through service group located in the San Francisco East Bay. They are moms, joining together to share their pride, devotion and worries for sons and daughters currently serving in all branches of the Armed Forces of the United States, and those who are now veterans. They are an official chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America, a group who formed during World War II. Among their many excellent programs and services the have a web page that details how to get the best airline rates and flights for military members and their families. Included is the latest info on airline mileage programs, including how to access and use them.

Families of patients at any military medical center or hospital can now receive up-to-the-minute reports on a loved one through their own customized Web pages, courtesy of CaringBridge and Fisher House.

The Red Cross Bay Area has now joined forces with AOL to help thousands of soldiers and staff stationed abroad to communicate "face-to-face" with their loved ones in the Bay Area by exchanging two-minute video messages for free over the Internet. The service uses a computer equipped with a video camera, an AOL Broadband Internet connection, and a special video-messaging program called VIDITalk.

We invite family members to schedule a videotaping appointment by calling (707) 423-3648 or (415) 427-8064 or by contacting Joan Kelley-Williams at joan.kelley-williams@travis.af.mil. To use the service, you will need your service member's email address. If you are a dependent, please bring your Military Dependent Identification Card to your appointment.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Help keep in touch with our troops. Call (707) 423-3648 for more info.

For info on programs to support deployed military people or to sign a virtual thank you card visit the America Supports You website at www.americasupportsyou.mil

Donate a calling card to help keep service members in touch with their families at Operation Uplink at www.operationuplink.org

Send a greeting via e-mail through Operation Dear Abby at http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/

Make a donation to one of the military relief societies:

  1. Army Emergency Relief at www.aerhq.org
  2. Navy/Marine Relief Society at www.nmcrs.org
  3. Air Force Aid Society at www.afas.org
  4. Coast Guard Mutual Assistance at www.cgmahq.org

Donate to Operation USO Care Package at www.operationusocarepackage.org

Volunteer at a VA Hospital to honor veterans who bore the lamp of freedom in past conflicts by going to www.va.gov/volunteer

Support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals through a donation to the Fisher House at www.fisherhouse.org

Reach out to military families in your community, especially those with a loved one overseas.

ęCopyright 2007, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. All Rights Reserved.
85 Second Street, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA  94105 : (415) 427-8000
Photos: Gene Dailey, Elena Fava Emerson, Bonnie Gillespie.