Kids Made These Amazing Valentine’s Cards for the Troops!

Every holiday that a Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airman, or Guardsman spends deployed overseas can be tough, and Valentine’s Day is no exception.

Military families go through incredible strain from the difficulties of deployment. Husbands and wives use every method available to stay in touch, but it’s still difficult to maintain across thousands of miles of separation and months spent away from home. Don’t let our troops get lonely this Valentine’s Day!

Move America Forward has made it easy to send our troops special Valentine’s Day care packages with a personal note from you.

We just wanted to show you some of the Valentine’s Day cards made by local school kids that we’re sending to lift our troops’ spirits.

Send a message of love and support to a brave Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airman, or Guardsman serving overseas. They deserve a morale boost and some sweet treats!


Right now we’re getting ready to send hundreds of Valentine’s Day care packages to troops serving overseas, but we need YOU to sponsor them so that we can get them to the post office and then to our troops on the front lines. Show your support for our brave troops this Valentine’s Day.



January Monthly Newsletter Online!

A Look Back at 2016!

Check out our January monthly newsletter, here are some highlights from this month!

  • A LOOK BACK AT 2016: Some important events and MAF projects from each month
  • CHRISTMAS A BIG SUCCESS: Report on our Christmas fundraising drive and care packages shipped
  • COMPANIES WHO STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE: Recognizing corporate sponsors who supported the troops
  • MONTHLY SMILES: It’s a new year, start 2017 out with a smile every month for our troops
  • VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS: We need the help of some budding young artists to design V-day cards for the troops
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: A re-cap of the months happenings on facebook and twitter.
  • GREAT NONPROFITS: We got another positive review on our Great Non-Profits profile! Add yours too!
  • MEET OUR TROOPS: We have FOUR new letters sent in from troops on the front lines


Get all the facts and exciting stories by reading the whole January newsletter: CLICK HERE

January Monthly Newsletter

A Look Back at 2016!

As Americans we saw some big changes during the past year and now we look forward to a whole new year of possibilities.  We at Move America Forward are thankful to have been able to continue our mission of support thanks to all our friends and supporters who have volunteered their time and resources to help ensure our troops are not forgotten

As a supporter of Move America Forward, your unwavering devotion to our troops is an inspiration to us and makes our mission of troop support possible. With your help we have been able support our deserving troops for another year filled with challenges and opportunities. We are excited to see what 2017 has in store!  

Of course we just don’t have the space to review everything we did throughout the year but we couldn’t move forward without taking a few moments to look back and share some of the highlights and some of the biggest challenges we all faced of the last 12 months. It’s a great way to remind you, our supporters, of all the wonderful things we were able to do for our troops thanks to your donations and support!

 

January saw a flurry of thank notes from the troops coming in to Move America Forward as can be expected following the massive amount of packages shipped out during the Christmas rush, here are just a few excerpts from out notes to let you know how much the troops appreciated all the holiday goodies!

Here are a just a few we thought you would enjoy!

Thanks for supporting the war fighters. The goodies and phone card are a great morale boost. The support from Move America Forward shows how great America is.

Thank you kindly,
Randy B
Thank you so much for all of the care packages! I don’t know who signed us up, but it was quite the welcome surprise at mail call…

Thank you for all you do + your continued support of us,
LT. Deidre C
…No words can express how much impact your packages have on the service members who receive them.
Thank you seems too little to say.

God bless,
SFC. Dale F
I never knew there were so many kind people thinking about us. We are so grateful words cannot express.
Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.

God Bless America,
SSG Kelly & Staff



February As part of our tradition at Move America Forward, during February we like to share our love and yours with our troops by sending out some amazing Valentine’s Care packages with special notes collected from adorable school children from all over the country. With the help of some local scouts, we were able to get many love filled packages on the way to our troops
 
Military families go through incredible strain from the difficulties of deployment. Husbands and wives use every method available to stay in touch, but it’s still difficult to maintain across thousands of miles of separation and months spent away from home. That’s why we like to send some long distance hugs to our troops to remind them that we care!



March With Spring  arriving and Easter rounding out March, we highlighted our support effort for the members of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit also known as “The Fighting Thirteenth” which was deploying for about 7 months, accompanied by the USS Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group. Thanks to all those who chose to “Answer the Call” and thanks to some very special volunteers who gave up their time to pack up over 600 packages we were able to get all the extra support packages for Easter, including extra treats like Marshmallow Peeps out to so many deployed troops just hoping for a little support from home.


April We love to help our supporters think outside the box when it comes to our troops. Thanks to Alta Vista Solutions who donated a 2012 Chevy Cruz to raise funds for troop care packages!




May Combat deployed U.S. Troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan enjoyed care packages and donated items from a regional effort by Sacramento area Motel 6 Hotels that supported non-profit organization Move America Forward’s Troop and K9 Care Package Program. All Sacramento region Motel 6 locations brought donated care packages items and supplies collected at their individual locations and spent the National Big Day of Giving volunteering at the Move America Forward Operation Center assembling Military Care Packages for U.S. Military serving in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq.





June
What a month! On June 23, 2016, MAF held our 9th Annual Troopathon live event broadcast live on Newsmax TV hosted by Melanie Morgan, Rita Cosby and John Bachman and live streamed on the internet from a cutting edge, high tech production studio in Sacramento, California, home of our headquarters.  Troopathon 9 “Care Packages for Our Heroes,” capped off a month-long fundraising event to send care packages to the troops overseas for the summer.

Troopathon 9 culminated in a 6-hour live broadcast interview show with that brought together pro-troop movie stars, TV personalities, elected officials, professional athletes, musicians, talk radio hosts and many other supporters who encouraged viewers to sponsor care packages for the troops serving overseas.

 


July While things were hot, hot, hot in the Middle East, Move America Forward threw a big party here at home, a Packing Party, our biggest one to date!!
 
Thank you to all our sponsors who ordered troop support packages and all the great volunteers who came down to help us assemble the actual care packages!  Thank you to all the volunteers, everyone who spread the word and especially to our friends at TRAVIS and BEALE that took time to come down to help us pack. We had an incredible group full of familiar faces and people who have never visited us before. And they packed over 840 care packages in the first shift a new record!

Hundreds of boxes were packed, labeled, and made ready to ship!

 


August With the dog days of summer upon us, Move America Forward thought it was the perfect time to update out packages for our furry troops, the hardworking military K9!

Military Working Dogs have been used for years by our men and women in uniform deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our K-9 care packages include special dog-goggles to protect sensitive eyes from dirt and debris. And we were proud to announce that we would now include KONG Brand durable dog toys in our K9 packs. These dogs work hard, but play time is an important part of training and bonding with their human partners.

That’s why we were very proud and thankful to the Kong Company for helping us get these KONG dog toys into our boxes.




September For the fourth year in a row, MAF was invited by John Vinson and his family to help them install a memorial flag display to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
 
John Vinson said that when he heard about what had happened in New York City he picked up an American flag and went to a freeway overpass and simply waved it proudly and defiantly at the enemy, for all the passing motorists to see. Those that passed by and saw him waving the colors honked and cheered and encouraged him.

John continues to fly the flag every 9/11, in 2016 he has well over 3,000 flags to fly including 2,977 flags to remember each victim of the 9/11 attacks. John has moved from the freeway overpass to a field in view of a busy street in West Sacramento. The Vinson family continue to fly the flags in defiance of those who would try to destroy our freedom.



October We had the good fortune of receiving some large donations of much needed products to send to the troops. From tough and thick wool boot socks just like military-issued ones, to many boxes of gourmet coffee and personal hygiene items like soap, bug repellent, foot powder, face cream and many other items. Our warehouse was overfilled with them!  We had to get these boxes moved out of our warehouse to make space, so the best solution was to ship them to the troops that need them the most!

Through Operation Mail Call, we were able to raise the extra postage necessary to ship out much of this huge windfall of goods to our troops.




November is a time to give thanks and we wanted to take a moment to thank Corporate Sponsors Guideposts, Paradies and San Francisco Bay Coffee Company for their awesome donations of inspirational and practical reading materials, treats for our troops and gourmet coffees for our deployed service members.  Our care packages are truly special thanks to the additions from these sponsors.

Special Thanks to our Friends at Wounded Warrior Project volunteers, Scouts from Troop 446 and the volunteers from ARC who helped us pack up over 500 packages for the holidays.


 



December found Move America Forward Giving Thanks to all our Volunteers who helped Us Get Care Packages out to our Troops for Christmas! Christmas is always a busy time at Move America Forward, but we could not have gotten all those packages stuff and shipped without our selfless volunteers when worked right up to Christmas making sure our troops were looked after for Christmas.  Thanks for Helping out!  We just could not have done it without you.

 

 

Christmas Support a Big Success, Thanks You!!



We asked you to help make sure our troops would receive packages during the holidays, a tough time for our troops to be away from family and loved ones. Move America Forward offer our sincerest THANK YOU to all the people, companies, groups and organizations who stepped up to send Thanksgiving and Christmas packages and messages of support. You loving and visible support made it a little easier for our troops during this year when other concerns often push their needs into the background. Thanks to your generosity and support, the holidays were brighter for thousands of American soldiers.

If you sent a package and have not yet received a thank you, please be patient. Sometimes it’s very hard or even impossible for a soldier to drop a note in the mail, as much as you would all love to hear back from the soldier you have sponsored.


Registering a Soldier is Easy

Registering a soldier to receive support packages is free and easy. If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty, click here for our Military Sign-Up Center or copy this link (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/) and e-mail it to them so they can sign-up themselves.

Once signed up they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring fellow Americans.


Companies Who Stepped up to the Plate


Companies are often eager to support our troops through our Corporate Sponsorship Support Program. By raising funds doing everything from selling dress down days to holding bake sales and even holding silent auctions, hundreds of corporate support packages have reached our troops! Thanks to Corporate Sponsors The Schwartz Foundation and many more, many troops have received packages with special letters from their corporate partners. If your company would like more information on how you can send support packages through Move America Forward, contact lisabaron@MoveAmericaForward.org, and Lisa will be happy to help you put your own corporate program together.


It’s a New Year, Start it out with a Smile!


The Christmas season can be so hectic that sometimes we just don’t quite get around to checking everything off our “To Do” list.  If you intended on sending a care package to our troops for Christmas and just never got around to it, why not take the time to start of the New Year with a gift to our hard-working troops?

 


As an added bonus we’ve made it so simple to join our Monthly Smiles Program.  When checking out just check the button that says you want to join the Monthly Smiles Program and you can make sure our troops are looked after all year long.


We need a few Budding Young Artists!


We know our troops miss their kids while they are a world away serving on behalf of us all. We want to make sure our troops will have a smile on their face and in their hearts when they open a package including beautiful homemade Valentine’s from school children. We are inviting school children from across the nation to send us their Valentine’s Cards to be included in our special Valentine’s packages for our troops.

Our goal is to have every state in the nation represented in our special Valentine’s Care Packages for the troops, which include our regular care package goodies plus some extra special Valentine’s goodies to let the troops know there is lots of love coming their way.

If your child’s school would like to participate, email our Director of Troop Support, Lisa Baron LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org

Let’s share our love with our troops this Valentine’s Day!

 


TWEETS FOR THE TROOPS @M_A_F


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New Year, New Opportunity to Show our Troops some Love!


We are so thankful for our supporters and your continued support for our troops, even with all the care packages we sent for Christmas, we are still receiving requests every day from troops who are just hoping someone will take a few moments to sponsor a package on their behalf.

If you would like to send a package to some of our new troops who have yet to receive a package, now is your opportunity!  Meet a few of our troops just waiting for you.




Meet our Troops


Martin Luther King Day

 

“What Are You Doing For Others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and we remember to thank the great men and women of our Armed Forces for their sacrifice. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

With nearly 15,000 troops still overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting for our freedom, now is the time to show what you are doing for our brave troops who do so much for us. As they serve on the front lines you can send them the comforts of home that only a care package can provide.

We have come a long way since the Buffalo soldiers in the Civil War and the exceptional Tuskegee Airmen of WWII. Units like these and many others made of proud African-Americans are remembered today as early examples of what has become commonplace. A strong, diverse, professional military made up from many different backgrounds and colors.

As you celebrate MLK day, help us support the US military that does not see racial lines, only patriotic ones.


We hear time and time again from our military care package recipients how much they appreciate our care packages and how much it means to them to know that people from back home took the time to think of them – it makes their day, week, and even month!

But it is the personal note from you that is MOST important.

It has been over 53 years since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his world-famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King had a dream that one day all people would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as called for in the Declaration of Independence

Our armed forces who are currently serving ensure that dream is possible. They need your support.

 


Send a MAF Care Package with Much-Deserved Goodies for Our Troops!


Think about how lonely it can get for our troops in Afghanistan, many are on isolated bases where they cannot easily keep in contact with their families back home. Some troops hardly ever receive mail from home, some troops sadly never get anything.

But we can change that! Please dig deep and send some support today. It can make all the difference to a lonely troop who is missing his or her family and just want’s to know that someone remembers them. It could be the only mail they receive all year, and give them a huge morale boost!

The battle wages on in Afghanistan as our US-led coalition trains the Afghan security forces. They are in harm’s way so that we can continue to enjoy our freedoms and exercise our rights. That is why we are celebrating every one of our heroes on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Please send a package to our heroes today!


Focus On: Christmas Care Pack Special Items

Check out the extra special Christmas items
in our Holiday Care Packages for the Troops


We are rapidly approaching the biggest holiday of the year. Yes we’re talking about Christmas. It seems like it snuck up on us, doesn’t it?

There are almost 15,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as thousands more deployed in various hot spots around the Middle East. These brave men and women won’t be home with their families for the holidays, they’ll be spending Christmas protecting our freedoms.


We hear time and time again from our military care package recipients how much they appreciate our care packages and how much it means to them to know that people from back home took the time to think of them.

Below you’ll find some of the special holiday items we’re including with our Christmas care packages for the troops. Our boxes still come with most of the standard care package items but for Christmas we like to send our troops something to remind them of the Christmas spirit.

Each box will include a real Christmas stocking that the troops can hang as decoration just like people back home hang them by the chimney. It’s an unmistakable sign that it’s Christmas time!

We’re also packing in some Hot Chocolate, the perfect feel-good drink to sit around the fireside with your buddies and tell great stories of Christmas times past.



Candy canes are the iconic Christmas candy and we’re going to send the troops some to of these perfect peppermints of the season. 

Finally we’ve got the perfect recipe for Christmas coffee, some peppermint coffee beans roasted locally by our jolly old friends at Roger’s Family Coffee Company.

Just imagine what it would be like to know someone loves and supports you while you are on patrol, standing guard or just a few months away from coming home. Make your gift today and send the support you know they deserve, with a tax deductible donation.

December Monthly Newsletter

You can Bring Christmas to our Troops!




This year we have thousands of troops waiting
for some Christmas cheer and you can help!


At Move America Forward, we often asked “How can I help?” from those interested in supporting our troops. Help comes in many forms, donating supplies like our friends at Guideposts
who donate informative, spiritual and practical planning guides for our troops, or our friend Tom D. from New York who often sends us books for inclusion for our packages. Many of our goodies are provided by the great folks at Paradies and of course our packages wouldn’t be the same without all the premium coffee donated to our troops from San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee,
volunteering to help us pack boxes like all the great folks who come in to pack boxes for us like the fantastic volunteers from Wounded Warrior Project or the selfless scouts from Troop 446 out of Antelope, CA. who recently spent a marathon day assembling packages for shipment out to our brave men and women selflessly serving far from home.


At Move America Forward help often comes in the form of sending out care packages to our soldiers and thanks to the many stalwart supporters in our Monthly Smiles Program and our supporters who send packages only once or several times a year our troops see packages year-round.

When you really want to spread the love and bring a smile to a group of our deployed troops we have plenty of options available!  We offer several packages that are meant to be shared by two, four or more soldiers


Our Soldiers are counting on us! Nothing makes them miss their loved ones more than the memories of spending Christmas with family, and knowing that they won’t be home to watch their kids sing or play trumpet or violin in a school Christmas concert or even open their presents on Christmas morning. Our troops gladly sacrifice so much for all Americans, please take a moment to thank them with a care package from home and most importantly, have a much needed note of thanks that only you can include.


THANK our troops and PRAY FOR THEM as we gather with our loved ones here at home remember those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe… Sponsor a Care Package from Move America Forward to send a little bit of
Christmas cheer
to our troops fighting over in the Middle East! These packages are filled with the same great list of goodies and personal care products, plus some special Christmas treats like candy canes, Holiday Coffee, Hot Cocoa and red fleece Christmas Stockings.


Just click on our Christmas Shop to see what’s special for the holidays,
and check out our gifts for individual soldiers as well as those designed to be shared.








Thanks Larry Marino & Listeners at KRLA AM870 The Answer for Supporting our Troops!



We partnered up with KRLA 870 AM The Answer to send packages to our troops in honor of  Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, so from November8 through December 5, the listeners of KRLA 870 AM have really pitched in to help make sure our deployed service members were remembered, honored and given a long distance hug from home. 



Listen below and Larry Marino talks to Lisa of Move America Forward about our troops and our vital mission to support them.





Furry Christmas!!



Military K9 teams fill specialized roles such as patrols, guarding important buildings and sniffing out roadside bombs and providing a special loving bond with their human partners.   Move America Forward recognizes and honors Military Working Dogs and the troops who train and work alongside them. Since 2010, MAF has been sending specialized K-9 Care Packages for those military dogs and the handlers who work alongside them.




K-9 Care packages include all of the normal great items included in a normal care package that our troops enjoy and need PLUS eye-protecting “Doggles Originalz” specifically designed for our furry troops and ultra-tough Kong training aids, doggie treats and other. If you would like to send out a special K8 package, we are here to help!

A Group Gift Everyone can agree on!


You have enough to worry about during this busy season. Let our Group Gift Program take the worries out of Christmas Troop Support. Group Gift  makes it easy for any size company or group to support our troops – all you have to do is let us know your budget and we’ll do all the work. We offer you a variety of options for packages to fit your budget. We will even include a customized message from your company, group or organization in every package.



To contact group gift, email LisaBaron@MoveAmerica.org with your questions, and she’ll be glad to help out.

 


Thank You Highlights!



“Getting a package means so much more than the items inside”




We are shipping Holiday Care Packages Now!



Our MAF volunteers, staff, supporters and maybe even an elf or two are all pitching in to make sure every package ordered gets in the mail by Christmas. Santa want you to know they’d really appreciate it if you don’t wait until the very last minute to order. And just a reminder to all you procrastinators: packages sent to the military must go by USPS Priority Mail, so we’re not able to offer an overnight delivery option like UPS or FEDX. But if you do miss the deadline, don’t worry….MAF is sending Holiday Care Packages all the way until December 31st, and even if it shows up after December 25th, the troops are going to be more than willing to celebrate Christmas when it arrives. So if you haven’t had time yet, take a moment to remember our brave men and women serving far from home.



MAF Makes Your Christmas Shopping Easy!

MAF is making it easy to send a gift to a soldier in the name of family, friends or co-workers
.
It’s just like making a donation to any other charity in a friend’s honor.  If you just want to send a package or two, or  to send packages in the names of each of your many clients, customers or everyone on your holiday list, we’ll be happy to do all the work for you.

All you have to do is give us your budget and your list, and we’ll do the rest. We’ll even supply you with a letter you can print out or email letting your list of friends know a gift has been sent in their name by you to a deployed service member.  It’s one gift that’s sure to produce smiles all around. Just contact LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org and paste Gift Giving in the subject line.

AMAZON SMILES MAXIMIZES YOUR SUPPORT
Make your money work twice as hard by supporting the troops at no extra cost to you while doing your holiday shopping with Amazon Smiles!



Move America Forward is now partnering with Amazon.com and participating in their Amazon Smile Non-Profit Program, where Amazon donates a portion of whatever you order to MAF so we can send even more support packages to our troops!

How does Amazon Smile Work?

It’s simple: All you have to do is use the link below to select
Move America Forward
as the charity you would like to support and a small portion of what you buy on Amazon.com is donated. No extra cost to you, just extra support for our brave defenders for buying the things you normally would. It’s a WIN-WIN!

CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE

Millions of Americans already use Amazon to purchase clothes, books and movies to tech gadgets, or almost anything you can think of. Chances are, if you’ve ever bought anything on-line, you have probably used Amazon.com at least once or twice.

Now with Amazon Smile, you can
support Move America Forward at no cost to you,
simply by buying the same things you would have bought anyway.


Prices are the same, shipping is the same, and nothing changes except Amazon donates .05% of your purchase to MAF on your behalf!



Click HERE to shop for great Gifts and be sure to set MAF as your Amazon Smiles Charity!

Gift of Monthly Smiles!

MAF even makes it easy to give year round .You can give someone a Membership in the Monthly Smiles Club and we’ll send a soldier a package in their name every month all year long. So long after the Christmas decorations are put away, your holiday gift will still be reminding your recipient of you – and reminding a soldier far from home that someone still cares about them.

We can work with your budget to send packages and to include a personal support message. We’ll even prepare a special letter for the person you’re giving the gift to. Then every month both you and the person who received your gift will get a notification from us letting you both know that a package went out. No need to pay up front; we’ll simply charge your credit card each month when your package ships.

What a great gift for a special client, friend or family member or group or employees  If you’d like to find out more, just complete our Monthly Smiles email form and in the area for messages, tell us you want to know more about
giving a membership in the Monthly Smiles Club.

Interested in Setting up your OWN Monthly Smiles?

Set up to schedule a monthly troop support package now and we will remember to send a package out through our Monthly Smiles Club for you each month. Our Monthly Smiles Club provides an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long! We have made it even simpler to sign up.  When you place your package order there is now a button you can click to make your Monthly Smiles Donation automatic.  What could be simpler?





That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face. Our Director of Troop Support, Lisa Baron personally oversees our Monthly Smiles program and she will make sure that your monthly package contains a personal message from you to the troops with every package we ship out on your behalf.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time. Plus Monthly Smiles donations are always 100% tax deductible!

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

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TWEETS FOR THE TROOPS @M_A_F



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Merry Christmas, My Friend


‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.

On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,


a sobering thought soon came to my mind.

For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.


I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,

so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.


He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?

Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,

And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,

on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.

Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.


He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,

“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.

I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,

and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,

said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,

Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight
Written by Corporal James M. Schmidt

 

Do you have unused or unwanted gift cards?

Now, you can use them to sponsor care packages for one of our brave men or women of the military.  Not only will you brighten the day of one of America’s finest, but your gift card donation to Move America Forward is also tax deductible, a win-win!

For every $25 dollars in gift cards we receive, we will send a care package in your name. Click here to get started!

As always, special thanks go out to our Sponsors!:

 

 

Black Friday deals extended! Support our troops while you shop with Amazon smiles



Cyber Monday Online Sales: Shop with Amazon
and Support MAF At No Cost To You!



Many online retailers have now begun their own Holiday sales tradition copying the Black Friday sales that brick and mortar stores hold each year. You can find great online deals on Cyber Monday, but did you know there is a way to support the troops while doing your online shopping?

Please forward this email and encourage everyone you know that shops on Amazon.com and supports the brave men and women of the military to sign up as well. 

AMAZON SMILES MAXIMIZES YOUR SUPPORT
Make your money work twice as hard by supporting the troops at no extra cost to you while doing your holiday shopping with Amazon Smiles!




Move America Forward is now partnering with Amazon.com and participating in their Amazon Smile Non-Profit Program, where Amazon donates a portion of whatever you order to MAF so we can send even more support packages to our troops!

How does Amazon Smile Work?


It’s simple:
All you have to do is use the link below to select Move America Forward
as the charity you would like to support and a small portion of what you buy on Amazon.com is donated. No extra cost to you, just extra support for our brave defenders for buying the things you normally would. It’s a WIN-WIN!


CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE


Millions of Americans already use Amazon to purchase clothes, books and movies to tech gadgets, or almost anything you can think of. Chances are, if you’ve ever bought anything on-line, you have probably used Amazon.com at least once or twice.

Now with Amazon Smile, you can support Move America Forward at no cost to you, by doing all your holiday shopping with Amazon Smiles. Your gifts will cost nothing extra, but a portion of the sales will be donated by AMAZON to the troops via MAF!

Prices are the same, shipping is the same, and nothing changes except Amazon donates .05% of your purchase TO THE TROOPS on your behalf!


Click HERE to shop for great Gifts and be sure to set MAF as your Amazon Smiles Charity!



There’s still time to send THANKSGIVING SUPPORT


Did you miss the opportunity to sponsor a Thanksgiving care package for the troops? Not to worry! You’ve still got one more chance
to send a Thanksgiving-themed care package, since our volunteers are still working to get packages shipped out as orders come in.

We will get your care package to the front lines as quickly as possible. A late care package is better than no care package at all and the Thanksgiving wishes inside will still make a big impact on our troops and boost their morale!


Click here to send a belated Thanksgiving package! The troops will still love your support!

November Monthly Newsletter

Volunteers Working Hard for our Troops!



Move America Forward was lucky to have close to a dozen dedicated volunteers from local business Avison & Young who came to MAF Headquarters in Sacramento on October 13 to help pack over 250 care packages bound for the troops overseas.

We were able to pack all these care packages thanks to our generous donors that have supported our Operation Mail Call campaign. Because of an influx in donated care package products, we are able to offer care packages to our troops in need for just the price of the postage to mail them.

In addition to all the care packages assembled by our Avison & Young volunteers, we continued to work hard to fulfill orders as they came in throughout the remainder of Operation Mail Call.  

We set a very ambitious goal for Operation Mail Call and pushed hard to make our goal.  We even set up a live feed visible on YouTube and on the MAF homepage so any of our supporters could take a peek in on the process of what goes on during care package preparation and stuffing. In case you missed it, the recording is now available for your here!

As our friends at Avison & Young demonstrated, it can be darned exhausting but well worth it knowing that our troops will be opening these boxes of cheer in no time.

With the help of these dedicated troop-supporters we packed up over 250 care packages for the troops. We had a few more volunteers that pushed us to over 300 boxes that we are shipping to waiting troops!




Guideposts: Inspiration, Faith, Hope for our Troops


We would like to take a moment to better acquaint our readers with our partnership with Guideposts, a Move America sponsor who has come through for our Troops in a big way by providing MAF with Booklets such as Financial Readiness, Mission Ready, Strength for Relationships, as well as thank you and Christmas greeting cards offering support and encouragement to our troops throughout their long and often lonely deployments far from home.

Recently, we spoke with Guideposts spokesperson Caroline Harris about our partnership and what it means to Guideposts to have the opportunity to support our troops in such a significant and meaningful manner.  We were very fortunate to have Guideposts support the 2016 MAF Troopathon as a Platinum Sponsor.  According to Harris, “It was our honor to be part of such an amazing event.”

When asked how Guideposts came to be involved with MAF here’s what she had to say.

“We came across MAF as we were looking for outlets for our booklet Financial Readiness.  Scott (Scott Raab, MAF’s Director of Outreach) quickly jumped on board and MAF began to receive the first shipment of our booklet.”

 Soon after Caroline Harris reached out to Scott and shared all the resources that Guideposts has to offer free of charge.  Scott was again quick to act.  “Since then we have sent 12,000 booklets and 2,500 “thank you” cards for the troops.  And as soon as more are needed, they will be on their way.” Assured Harris  

MAF was a natural fit for Guideposts as they have supported our troops and veterans for over 64 years.  Harris went on to add “Annually we distribute over 1 Million pieces of literature to our troops and veterans.  We distribute them directly through chaplaincy and through amazing support organizations such as MAF.  We could not have the impact that we do without the amazing work that you do.  If we can encourage and uplift even a single soldier or veteran than all of our efforts are worth it.”

We couldn’t agree with Harris more, as MAF has made it our mission to support our troops and Guideposts has become an important part of that mission.

Like MAF, Guideposts works closely with chaplains to make sure the needs of our deployed are looked after. Harris went on to say “Often we are told by chaplains and chaplain’s assistance how important our publications are.  These pocket sized booklets are a quick easy read and provide them the encouragement they need to get through tough situations.  We were once told by a soldier that our booklets are the perfect size…as often time’s struggles with personal relationships, faith, money, or self-esteem are deemed by the military as a sign of weakness.  Our booklets are something easily read in small quiet places without fear of any sort of criticism.  Often times we are told that our messages arrive at just the right time.  And are also passed from person to person.”

Although Guideposts has not yet had the opportunity to visit with us at our headquarters in Sacramento, there commitment is strong and we look forward to having them check out our operations first hand.   Guideposts seeks the input of chaplains when writing their materials so it can better meet the needs of today’s deployed troops.

Partnering with MAF gave Guideposts a chance to put materials directly into the hands of eager troops. “It’s great to know that our material is getting into the hands of the men and women who are defending our country so bravely.  Our material is not only targeted to the issues facing our military today, but much of the material is actually written by military chaplains.  It is good to know that our booklets are being delivered directly into the hands of our soldiers.  

Harris went on to add “Working with MAF (specifically with Scott Raab) has been an absolute pleasure.  The message of how important it is to raise the spirits of our troops is clear.  Having served himself he embraces the mission of MAF to a “T” and his excitement for doing so is infectious.  You simply cannot say no! (But why would you want to?  On behalf of Guideposts we would like to thank our service men and women for all that they do.  Together with MAF it is our hope that we can make a difference to those who are making a difference for us. “

“We would highly recommend MAF to others for their integrity, heart, and dedication to those serving our country.  They do amazing work, and their diligence in supporting the troops shows in all that they do.” Continued Harris.

‘We look forward to a long continued relationship with MAF.  It is our hope that we can find a way to strengthen and deepen our relationship and continue to not only provide our resources to MAF for their care packages but to continue to support their efforts through Troop-a-Thon.”  

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about our partnership with Guidepost in our continued effort to assure our troops are supported both spiritually and materially.

Maximize Your Support with AMAZON SMILES

Move America Forward is now partnering with Amazon.com and participating in their Amazon Smile Non-Profit Program, where Amazon donates a portion of whatever you order to MAF so we can send even more support packages to our troops!

How does Amazon Smile Work?

It’s simple: All you have to do is use the link below to select Move America Forward as the charity you would like to support and a small portion of what you buy on Amazon.com is donated. No extra cost to you, just extra support for our brave defenders for buying the things you normally would. It’s a WIN-WIN!

CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE

Millions of Americans already use Amazon to purchase clothes, books and movies to tech gadgets, or almost anything you can think of. Chances are, if you’ve ever bought anything on-line, you have probably used Amazon.com at least once or twice.

Now with Amazon Smile, you can support Move America Forward at no cost to you, simply by buying the same things you would have bought anyway.

Prices are the same, shipping is the same, and nothing changes except Amazon donates .05% of your purchase to MAF on your behalf!

Click HERE to shop for great Gifts and be sure to set MAF as your Amazon Smiles Charity!

Thanking Those Who Serve!
November 11, 2016 is Veterans Day


Friday, November 11, was Veterans Day.  Please take this opportunity to thank all of those who have served our great nation. To all of our Veterans, we at Move America Forward say “Thank You!” Your sacrifice and service has kept us safe at home.  Please take the time to thank your friends, co-workers or loved ones this year who have served our country.  In honor of America’s brave veterans, please take the time to fly your flag. 

How is Veterans Day Different from Memorial Day?

Veterans Day is sometimes confused with Memorial Day, however, Veterans Day honors the service of all U.S. military veterans, whereas Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the the men and women who gave their lives in service.

We’d like to offer you the opportunity to send out a special troop support package in honor of your loved one who has served.


Simply enter your order and in the message area please enter your message to our troops and let them know in whose honor you are sending your package.

Oorah! Semper Fi! –241 years of Faithful Service

November 10, 2016 marks the 241st Birthday of our United States Marines. The USMC has been part of every war the United States has been involved with since their founding in 1775. Today there are more than 200,000 active duty and reserve troops serving both state-side and abroad. Always ready, willing and able to defend and protect our shores.

Bow Our Heads in Thanks


As a nation we our blessed in many ways and we celebrate together on Thanksgiving  a holiday rooted in the tradition of gathering around the table with loved-ones to share a feast and quite literally offer Thanksgiving for the gifts in our lives and the prosperity we share. We take the time to count our blessings, bow our heads in praise and remember family and friends who can’t be with us to share the day.  At Move America Forward we’re thankful to each and every one of you who send packages and messages of support to our deployed to let them know they’re not forgotten.

We’d like to make sure as many soldiers as possible get a taste of the holidays, so we’ve put together some special Thanksgiving treats in our packages that range from special holiday coffee, to festive candy that’s sure to bring a real taste of home.  Of course our packages are packed with plenty of our regular treats like beef jerky, nutritious trail mix, candies, cookies, field wipes and lots more.  And every Thanksgiving package includes a special personalized message of support to our troops from the sponsor at no additional cost.

HOLIDAY DUO is Back!


Turkey, pumpkin pie, football, family, parties, shopping, worship services, and decorating!  Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner!  This is such a busy and fun filled time for many Americans here at home, but it’s also a special time to remember our troops serving in harm’s way that won’t have a chance to celebrate these special days with their friends and loved ones. As part of your Holiday Traditions why not include remembering our service members with a special package from home.

Move America Forward is happy to offer a special Holiday Duo promotion that will automatically send a package from you next month in December along with your special note of thanks to celebrate these special holidays.

Our Thanksgiving packages will be packed with our regular treats but will also include special holiday treats like candy corn, special holiday edition coffee and hot cider.  To add a touch from home and our Christmas package will have extra treats like soft peppermints, a fleecy red and white Christmas stocking and hot chocolate as well.



Or just contact Lisa Baron at LisaBaron@moveamericaforward.org  and let her know you are interested in the Holiday Duo and she will get all the info from you she needs to make this happen
.

We Make Holiday Giving Easy!

Before you know it you will be asking yourself where another year has gone. Let MAF make it easier to remember our troops. If your company, group, school, club or organization would like to send soldiers holiday packages, now’s the time to get in touch with our Group Gift Coordinator and get your program underway. There’s still time for us to put together a custom program for you that could include sponsoring a group or unit, sending packages to soldiers from your home state, or supporting members of a particular branch of the service. We want to be able to do everything possible to make your program special, so if you’re even thinking about “We should really do something to support the troops” this holiday season, send an email to LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org

Signing Up a Soldier for a Support Package is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center  to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, just copy this link http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.


TWEETS FOR THE TROOPS @M_A_F


Check us out on Facebook!

Monthly Smiles Club Needs You!!

Set up to schedule a monthly troop support package now and we will remember to send a package out through our Monthly Smiles Club for you each month. Our Monthly Smiles Club provides an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long! We have made it even simpler to sign up.  When you place your package order there is now a button you can click to make your Monthly Smiles Donation automatic.  What could be simpler?



That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face. Our Director of Troop Support, Lisa Baron personally oversees our Monthly Smiles program and she will make sure that your monthly package contains a personal message from you to the troops with every package we ship out on your behalf.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time. Plus Monthly Smiles donations are always 100% tax deductible!

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.


Do you have unused or unwanted gift cards?

Now, you can use them to sponsor care packages for one of our brave men or women of the military.  Not only will you brighten the day of one of America’s finest, but your gift card donation to Move America Forward is also tax deductible, a win-win!

For every $25 dollars in gift cards we receive, we will send a care package in your name. Click here to get started!


As always, special thanks go out to our Sponsors!:




Remembering a Fallen Hero

Don’t forget the most important part of Thanksgiving…
GIVING THANKS!

Remember that for thousands of American families who will gather for Thanksgiving this year, there will be an empty chair left for a family member who’s serving overseas. If we can send their loved one a Thanksgiving care package maybe we can give them a piece of the Thanksgiving dinner they’re missing out on.

We’ve put together some special Thanksgiving treats in our packages that range from special holiday coffee, to festive candy that’s sure to bring a real taste of home.  Of course our packages are packed with plenty of our regular treats like beef jerky, nutritious trail mix, candies, cookies, field wipes and lots more.  And ever Thanksgiving   package includes a special personalized message of support to our troops from the sponsor at no additional cost.




Today is the anniversary of the day we lost a true hero, Matthew J. Holley. He was a combat medic in the 101st Airborne whose parents John and Stacey Holley fought for all military families to make sure all of our fallen warriors return home with the honor and respect they deserve.

“The Holley Provision” and One American
Family’s Sacrifice in the War on Terror


John Holley was one of the Gold Star Parents we were able to take with us to Iraq in 2006. A trip he credits with helping him honor his son and move forward in his life. We have had the pleasure of working with John and Stacey Holley ever since and are so grateful for all they have done for other military families. Please take the time to read the story below and learn about their son.

Thanks to the efforts made by the Holley Family a “Holley Provision” exists to ensure all of our fallen heroes return honor and respect they deserve.


~The story of  Army SPC. Matthew J. Holley~

On a cool autumn afternoon in November 2005 the world seemingly ended for John and Stacey Holley.  With the ringing of the doorbell and the appearance of uniformed military strangers on the porch of their North Idaho home, their quiet lives were shattered by the news that their son and only child SPC. Matthew J. Holley had been killed along with three other soldiers by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Taji, Iraq. He was a Combat Medic with the 101st Airborne Division out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

Growing up, Matthew was the child that most parents hope for; he was charismatic and talented both athletically and artistically.  By the age of 18 he was a three time U.S. National Karate champion and a talented amateur artist. For most who knew him, Matthew was a person of few words, choosing instead to let his actions speak much louder.  He thrived on the challenge of being the best he could be.

When Matthew made the decision to become a soldier he was following in the footsteps of four generations of family members before him, including both John and Stacey.  He was driven by a few valued lessons in life that he was raised on. The first to know and respect “that to whom much is given much is expected” and second that whenever the opportunity availed itself “to take his eyes off of himself and to put them on to others.” 

Etched on SPC Matthew Holley’s gravestone are the following words, “To Serve a Cause Greater Then Myself”.  Profound words spoken by a profound young man to his mother and father for his reason to join the United States Army and become a Medic. Matthew’s zest for life was to apply those valued lessons handed down to him and in doing so share a little of that freedom so many in our nation take for granted, or a little of that free spirit we all have.

Like so many who feel called to serve our nation, Matthew loved the Red, White and Blue.  He loved the freedom it exudes and offers anyone who lives in the United States of America.  As many in our generation, most will always remember that fateful Tuesday in 2001 when the towers fell.  Matthew was just one week short of his 17th birthday, but as his mother reflects back, she believes that day was as much a catalyst for his decision to serve our nation as any.  It was on that day that he saw the cause for freedom and all he had been raised to believe in challenged, and he expressed that “if there was one thing worse than dying, it was being alive and not being free.”

Even in the midst of their grief, John and Stacey knew that they were not the only parents who would face such a crisis.  They were not the only American family destined to hear the ringing of a doorbell, or to learn the news of a loved one’s ultimate sacrifice from the lips of complete strangers. 

Unbeknownst to them John and Stacey’s sorrow would quickly turn to horror when they discovered that Matthew’s casket would return to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field as common freight. 

There would be no honor guard to welcome their fallen hero back to his hometown. 

Instead, Matthew Holley’s remains would be carted around by forklifts and baggage handlers, like a crate of auto parts. Determined to welcome their son home with honors befitting his sacrifice to our nation, the Holley’s embarked on a quest to challenge the law, and to begin a journey of healing that would touch the lives of Gold Star families across our nation.

In 2011 the Holley’s released their co-authored book, Medals, Flags and Memories.  In the book they share the story of their struggle in the weeks and months following Matthew’s death, as they fought to enact the law known today as “The Holley Provision” or as some have come to refer to them as “Angel Flights.”  John and Stacey chose not to write simply a memoir of grief and loss. 

Rather their desire was to share a journal of personal transformation, a guidebook for anyone who finds themselves struggling in the storm of their lives.  It’s a journey of faith, love, and ultimate perseverance.  But beyond all of these things, it’s an unmistakable demonstration of the American ideal in action.
 

Today each fallen heroes casket is met by honor guards in white gloves and crisp uniforms, instead of baggage handlers with forklifts.  The legislation, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2006, and enacted by the Pentagon in January 2007

Faced with the entrenched bureaucracy of our government, the Holley’s proved that an ordinary family can tip the scales of American justice.  And, in an age where many people feel alienated and powerless, the Holley’s have shown how ordinary citizens can impact the change in federal law, and transform the world we live in.

In a sense, one world ended for John and Stacey Holley in November 2005, when Matthew died to preserve the American dream. But another world opened up, as the Holley’s discovered the power of prayer, determination and belief in the values that our great country was founded on. John and Stacey have honored Matthew’s death by reminding us that his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all those who serve our great nation is not in vain or without the honor due.  That the American dream is still very much alive and well, and it is within the grasp of each citizen who dares to reach out and claim it.


Copies of Medal’s Flags and Memories can
be purchased online through www.amazon.com