• September 1, 2014

USO cooks up tasty way to support troops

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Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:35 pm, Tue Aug 6, 2013.

The USO is asking people to fire up their grills in support of the troops this summer.

Barbecue for the Troops is a grassroots fundraising campaign to provide a localized and easy way for individuals and organizations to raise money in support of U.S. troops and their families.

Since the campaign’s Memorial Day launch, more than 600 barbecues from across the country have been registered through the USO’s website, said Kenya Friend-Daniel, a Virginia-based spokesperson for the USO.

“People who have registered have given us many reasons for them throwing their barbecue, from they just want to support our troops and families, to they have a military connection — someone they know and love is serving,” Friend-Daniel said.

Money donated to the USO goes back to many of its long-standing programs that allow troops to call home for free while deployed, help deployed service members create a DVD of them reading a bedtime story for their children and get families into counseling workshops to help them reconnect after deployment or injury.

Locally, the Fort Hood USO offers a place for soldiers to go and relax, as well as family programs such as game nights and movies on the lawn.

“The USO provides Americans with opportunities to say ‘thank you’ to the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country,” said Kelli Seely, USO senior vice president and chief development officer, in a release. “There’s no better way to show your appreciation this summer than to raise funds to support programs and services our troops and their families need most, while joining family and friends in a time-honored and fun American tradition. Without the support of the American people, the USO would not be able to meet the changing needs of our military heroes and ensure that we are always by their side, every step of their journey.”

To help people host a barbecue and raise money, the USO created the website bbqforthetroops.org, where people can register their event and get tips and recipes. The campaign runs through Labor Day.

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