A Wish to Last the Year

Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella and USO President Sloan Gibson

When the USO launched its latest initiative, the USO Wishbook, we knew that getting the word out to the American public would be key. And with the holidays just around the corner what better time to debut the initiative than now, giving holiday shoppers a reprieve from crowded malls and relieving them from having to answer the age-old question of “What do you get the person who has it all?”

With gifts ranging from $15 to $5,000 the USO Wishbook – an alternative giving website that solely supports U.S. troops and their families – really does have a gift that can fit every budget. So, how do we get the word out to those looking to deliver some goodness and a touch of home to troops? We teamed up with long-time partner the Miss Universe Organization and headed to New York, where Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella and USO President Sloan Gibson participated in a four-hour satellite media tour with 27 media outlets. When asked about her support of the USO and the USO Wishbook Campanella replied:

“For me its personal, I had a grandfather who served in the Navy and one of my best friends served in Afghanistan in the Marines. I know how my grandfather or best friend would have felt to receive these wonderful gifts. Especially for the holiday season.”

And with more than 6,000 gifts purchased since its Nov. 15th launch, the USO Wishbook is definitely hitting home with military supporters and holiday shoppers, and there are still stories to tell. Like that of Senior Airmen Gabriel Time, who was able to witness the birth of his first child via Skype at a USO center in Kandahar, Afghanistan, or that of CPT Peter Hufman, who was able to stay connected during his deployment with his 4 children, including one-month-old son Isaac, by reading them their favorite bedtime stories. It’s through purchases in support of “Tech to Connect” and “Bedtime Stories,” among the many other gifts available through the USO Wishbook, that the USO is able to continue creating moments like these for our troops and their families.

“We are going to keep the USO Wishbook up all year long,” said USO President Sloan Gibson. “And we will be constantly adding and changing items based on the things that we know troops and their family members appreciate.”

Devoted to building awareness of USO Wishbook, Campanella will once again team up with the USO and this Sunday, Dec. 18, she will join USO Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Frank Thorp on Fox & Friends. Tune in at 6:30 am (EST) to learn more about how the USO and the USO Wishbook are making a difference in the lives of today’s troops and military families and help us spread the word. – Sharee Posey, USO Media Specialist

The 12 Days of USO Wishbook

It’s that time of year: the holidays have descended upon us! Many of us have no trouble getting into the festive mood, as coffee shops relentlessly play their $20 holiday CDs, houses compete to be seen from space and tempting treats seem to pop up everywhere. But for some, family and loved ones are far away. Their surroundings are unfamiliar and certainly don’t evoke feelings of holiday warmth. Here at the USO, there is one thing we think everyone should put on their wishlists: The Troops. For the next 12 days we’ll feature some of the best-selling gifts found in the USO Wishbook! A perfect present for anyone on your list, help us lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families for the holidays!

On the twelfth day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

A Phone Call Home!
Our troops make remarkable sacrifices every day like being far from their family and friends. You can make sure they stay connected through our $25 package which gives them the phone cards and technology needed to hear a loved one’s voice.

On the eleventh day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

A Deployment Kit!
Full of snacks, toiletries, phone cards to call home and more, this deployment kit for $15 will mean so much to a new service man or woman and help make sure they are taken care of right from the very beginning of their service.

On the tenth day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

Stock the Movie Library!
Imagine the relief our troops feel entering a USO center, and settling in to watch one of their favorite movies. For just $25 you can make that possible by sending a great collection of DVDs to our troops  — from the latest blockbusters to movies they’ve specifically requested.

On the ninth day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

Welcome a Hero Home!
After deployment, our troops’ long flight home is grueling. For $25 you’ll be helping the USO decorate and celebrate our troops as they return home with welcome banners and streamers – making sure they know as soon as they step off the plane how much their service means to us.

On the eighth day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

Pocket-Sized Photo Memories!
This pocket-sized album was designed specially for our troops to fit in their cargo pants. It’s sent home first where their families can fill it and then sent to the frontlines. For $25, our troops can keep precious memories with them and look at it all the time!

On the seventh day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

Bedtime Stories!
The hardest hit members of a military family are often the youngest. For $50 you can help by giving our service men and women the chance to read them a bedtime story through United Through Reading’s Military Program, record it on DVD and send it back home.

On the sixth day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

Family Fun Day!
Our military families go through lots of hardships during their service. But at USO centers, they have a chance to relax and have some fun together. For $50 you can make a Family Fun Day at a center possible and give a little something back for all their sacrifice.

On the fifth day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

A Bridge Back Home!
Our troops make remarkable sacrifices for our freedom – including being far from home for long periods of time. For $25 you can help be a bridge back home by providing phone cards and other tools they need to stay connected.

On the fourth day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

Game Night!
Full of the board games that our troops have specifically asked for, this package is sure to make for a fun and relaxing game night. Make it a great time by sending this special care package for $25 today.

On the third day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

Growing Up Brave!
Deployment can be a challenging and confusing time for a child. This $25 kit gives them the tools they need to help cope with this challenge and keep them happy and healthy. It includes a coloring book, a specially-made DVD to answer the questions they often have and a journal.

On the second day of USO Wishbook, my true love gave to me…

A World of Words!
A good book is a well deserved break and distraction for our troops. For just $15 you can add a book to the library in centers and bases all over the world – making sure that no matter where our troops are, they have a good book close at hand.

On the first day of USO Wishbook my true love gave to me…

A Comfort Food Package!
By sending comfort foods and beverages, you’ll help send some much needed relief to our troops. The assortment can include crackers, cookies, coffee, sports beverages and many more items that keep our troops going for just $15!

Find all these gifts and more at the USO Wishbook!

The USO Wishbook

This holiday season the USO is offering the perfect shopping solution to Americans tired of spending the weeks and days leading up to Christmas, in crowded shopping malls, trying to find that perfect and sometimes expensive gift for the person who seems to have everything that often ends up as clutter: The USO Wishbook.

A first of its kind, it’s the most comprehensive alternative giving catalogue that solely supports U.S. troops and their families. With gifts to suit every budget, the USO Wishbook offers items to support deployed troops, wounded warriors and military families, priced from $15 up to $5,000 for extraordinary gifts. For $25 or less, you can purchase a care package that helps get a service member through the initial days of deployment, a kit to help a military child cope with the stresses of military life, or a calling card to keep a service member and their family connected.

A perfect gift for anyone on your list, help us lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families for the holidays!