Saturday, July 07, 2007

Minutes for the Troops

As an Army vet, Monica Burns knows first-hand how the sound of a loved one's voice is music in a soldier's ear. When she was stationed 3000 miles away from home, she lived for the sound of a familiar voice or the occasional care package that came showed up at mail call. That experience on intense homesickness has prompted her to organize a Minutes for the Troops donation program.

Monica has a troop contact in Iraq that she can send AT&T phone cards to. The minutes are then allocated to soldiers so they can call home. Apparently, AT&T phone cards are the only cards that work relatively glitch free with Iraq's phone system dialing out to the USA. If you'd like to help the American soldiers stationed in Iraq communicate with loved ones, here are your options:

Option 1 - AT&T phone cards are available at retail stores such as Wal-Mart. Once you've purchased the card, email Monica with the phone number and the pin number that are listed on the back of the card, along with the number of minutes on the card (knowing the minutes helps fairly allocate minutes to the troops). Send your phone card info to monicaburnsauthor @ (eliminate the spaces before and after the @ symbol). Place "Minutes for the Troops" in your email subject line so her SPAM Assassin doesn't eat your email. She'll compile all the phone card information and forward it to her military contact so the troops can use the minutes you donate to make their calls.

Option 2 - Some people can only afford to spare a couple of dollars, so if you have a PayPal account, Monica is willing to take donations via her personal account. She'll purchase phone cards with those donations and forward those to her troop contact. The disadvantage is that your contribution has 3 percent removed from it by PayPal, so if you want to claim the donation on taxes, you'll have to allot for that 3 percent deduction when you calculate your donation. For instance, if you wanted to donate $1.00 you would actually only be donating 97 cents. Just keep this in mind if you want to donate via PayPal.

Option 3 - If you can't afford to buy a phone card, and don't have a PayPal account, you can always send a check or money order to Monica Burns, Post Office Box 68, Richmond, VA 23235. Monica will apply your contribution to the purchase of a card. A copy of the check or money order should suffice for your charitable donations write off on your taxes. Please do not send cash due to recordkeeping restrictions.

Monica thanks you, and the troops thank you.

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