Action Tips: Organize a Collection Drive for Items to Go into Service Members' Backpacks

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When military personnel are injured or wounded, treatment and transportation occur with such speed that sometimes their gear and personal items never catch up with them. They are often evacuated wearing the same clothing they wore when they were wounded -- clothing that is often damaged in action or removed during treatment -- and soon find themselves without easy access to basic supplies.

To address this situation, created the First Response Backpacks which provide a full set of travel-sized toiletries and accessories (such as toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, shampoo, and soap), an international calling card, a handmade Blanket of Hope, and clothing specially-designed to be easily donned by those with serious wounds and to give relief from drafty hospital gowns.

First Response Backpacks are one of the first indications wounded or ill soldiers receive that Americans back home are thinking of them. They are distributed in-country to Combat Support Hospitals and other major facilities that treat or transport the wounded, as well as smaller facilities where a mildly ill/injured soldier might stay for a short while before returning to his or her unit. At each of these locations, the backpacks enable medical staff to quickly grab an all-in-one pack that meets the basic hygiene needs of patients so that the staff can focus on medical concerns.

How can you help?

Organize a drive to collect items to go into the back packs.

The following are used in the First Response programs. Please note that items must be new and unopened (large and extra-large are the most requested clothing sizes):

  • Blanket of Hope
  • Phone Cards
  • Slippers
  • Cards and Letters of Encouragement
  • T-Shirts, solid grey or black
  • Lounge Pajamas
  • Hand-held Games
  • Snacks and Goodies
  • Lip Balm (Chapstick)
  • Personal hygiene items (deodorant, shampoo, etc)
  • Lotions
  • Backpacks
  • Bug Repellent
  • Magazines
  • CD Players
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Gift Cards (Walmart, Target, etc.)
  • Pizza Hut Gift Cards (US Hospitals only)

For more details, check out .