I founded the A Million Thanks organization in 2004 when I was 15 years old. My goal was simple – to collect and distribute cards and letters of appreciation to military stationed around the world.
Now celebrating the organization’s 10th anniversary and having sent over six million letters to our troops, we have expanded what was once a small service project to an international organization to benefit U.S. service members and their families.
As we celebrate Independence Day with the rest of the country, here are five ways we give ‘A Million Thanks’ to our military!
1. Letters from Home
Everybody loves getting mail (unless its bills)! A Million Thanks has made it easy for individuals, schools, business, churches, and organizations to write their letters of appreciate to our military.
Send your letters to us, or your nearest drop off location, and we will distribute them to military in need of support and encouragement from home. Nothing feels better than receiving a morale boost from a complete stranger.
*Know a service member that would like to receive mail? Provide their address and we will provide the mail! Send military addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Granting wishes
With many of our troops coming home from war zones, we all know the devastating effects their time away can have on them mentally, physically, and emotionally. We know the real battle begins once they are back home.
That’s why A Million Thanks started “Wounded Soldier’s Wish,” which raises funds to grant the wishes of all branches of military injured in combat. We grant non-cash wishes – anything from a vacation with the family to out-fitting an accessible home to meeting their favorite celebrity. Just because you come home does not mean you’re forgotten about!
*Know a service member that would like to have their wish granted? Visit our website to see if they qualify! www.WoundedSoldiersWish.org
3. Providing scholarships
For us, family is everything! We know the importance of being able to provide the best for your children. At A Million Thanks, we raise funds to provide higher education scholarships to children of fallen military. The legacy a parent leaves behind after paying the ultimate sacrifice should be carried out through his or her child. We want to do everything possible to establish a solid foundation for your child’s future.
*Know a child who has lost a parent in war? We would like to help them go to college! Please visit www.AFCEF.org to find out more.
4. Volunteer opportunities
Organizations continue to run successfully with the support and volunteerism of the community. Plus, who doesn’t like doing things for others? It’s a win-win!
We provide ways for folks to volunteer with A Million Thanks by hosting events for the community to help open, sort, count, package, and send letters to our troops serving overseas.
Want to help on a larger scale? We are asking organizations to apply to be official A Million Thanks Drop-off Locations. You will be responsible for collecting letters from your community and hosting your own events to send out the letters. It’s a fun way to show your friends and family how much you love our military!
*Want to be an official Drop-off Location? Find out how at http://www.amillionthanks.org/million-thanks-drop-off-locations
5. Spreading the word
The success of A Million Thanks over the years has come from people like you, your friends, family, neighbors, and community. Thank you for making it so easy to provide love and support to our military and their families.
Please continue to spread the word to everyone you know. As we know, freedom isn’t free, and it’s because of our brave men and women in uniform that we get to live in such amazing bliss! Take a minute to reflect on the freedom you’re most grateful for this Fourth of July!
Shauna Fleming is a native of California and started the A Million Thanks organization as a high school student with the intent of creating a school wide service project. Over the past nine years, the organization quickly grew to a national initiative that has reached countless members of our military both at home and abroad.