What is required for me to “adopt” a deployed Service Member or platoon?

To “adopt,” supporters must send one letter or card per week and one care package per month. Examples: If you are assigned a platoon of 20 Service Members, once a month you might send 20 Ziploc bags filled with hard candy and bubble gum, along with little notes of praise that service members will be happy to receive. The following month you could send a package with 20 Ziploc bags filled with small, travel-sized hygiene products. For Valentine’s Day, send 20 bags of Valentine candy along with a Valentine card for each Service Member in the platoon. It is essential that you heed the requirements for how much support you send. Our Troops have very little storage space and it’s important that you not send any more than two small boxes at a time. Note: AAP takes care of essentials, shipping products most needed to support deployed Troops directly from the AAP Troop Support Warehouse.

Can I help support the AAP Troop Support Warehouse with a donation so that needed essentials reach our Troops?

Yes, your monetary assistance would be deeply appreciated and greatly needed.  You can donate as you wish via Pay Pal on the AAP website, www.adoptaplatoon.org, and you can also sign up to give a monthly gift via the following link:https://secure.ifr-ors.com/AdoptaPlatoon/PlatoonPatriot/index.asp?info=ERW99

If I am a new supporter, how do I begin the process of supporting a deployed Service Member/platoon?

Begin by completing the “New Supporter” application located at the top of the main page on the AAP website (Supporter Sign Up). An AAP staff member will follow up with a call to speak with you; response time varies depending on our workload. Every new potential supporter is screened and vetted to the best of our ability for the safety of our Troops and this takes time. Having read the above, do not write to us stating that you’ve already spent money in preparation for Troop support and you need a link to a military Service Member or platoon right away. AdoptaPlatoon cannot guarantee that everyone applying will be approved for AAP’s military support but know that our Troops need Americans supporting them and we work as fast as we can to meet your patriotic request. Once you become accepted into the Troop support program, you become an “Approved Supporter”. Your support truly helps Troop morale.

All applications for Troop support are taken on a first come first serve basis for review.

Please do not ask for your application to be expedited. All applications submitted for potential link to U.S. deployed Troops are taken on a first come first serve basis for review and possible approval. Please do not write and tell us that you have an event that is soon to take place and you want your application to be expedited. AdoptaPlatoon puts the safety of our Troops first and all applications have to be screened and carefully evaluated to the best of our ability and this takes time.  No applications can be expedited. Thank you.

Does a company, school, or group need to submit a different application?

The “New Supporter” application is to be used by anyone wishing to support our Troops: individuals, companies, groups, or schools. Details can be left in the comment section of the application.

If I am an “Approved” AAP supporter, how do I go about supporting another Service Member or platoon without going through this application process?

An Approved Supporter can send an email to info@adoptaplatoon.org. If your request is to support an additional Service Member, please put “Current Supporter” in the subject line. If your assigned Service Member or platoon has redeployed home, please put “Repeat Supporter” in the subject line of the email.  You must include all of the required information listed on the AdoptaPlatoon Soldier Delivery Letter (SDL), when sending in your request

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How do I fill out a customs form, get free boxes, and determine my postage rate?

Visit the AAP Website at: adoptaplatoon.org and click on ABOUT.  On the right side of the page you will see: “Helpful Info.” Click on “How to fill out a customs form.” We provide all the information we can. For further information on customs forms and free “America Supports You” care package boxes, visit the USPS website or visit your local post office. https://www.usps.com/ship/apo-fpo-dpo.htm.

Can I use UPS, FedEx, or DHL to send my support to deployed troops?

NO! Can you imagine a brown UPS truck trying to navigate Iraq? All mail to deployed Troops must be sent via the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Can I complete my application process via email instead of a phone call?

Troops and this takes time. Having read the above, do not write to us stating that you’ve already spent money in preparation for Troop support and you need a link to a military Service Member or platoon right away. AdoptaPlatoon cannot guarantee that everyone applying will be approved for AAP’s military support but know that our Troops need Americans supporting them and we work as fast as we can to meet your patriotic request. Once you become accepted into the Troop support program, you become an “Approved Supporter”. Your support truly helps Troop morale.

How long will it take before I get my Service Member or platoon assignment?

Due to wartime conditions and movement of the Troops, we cannot tell you how long it will take to get your assignment. Sometimes the process takes longer than we would like.  Just know we are working as quickly as we can, and we thank you in advance for your patience.  We promise to do our best to link you as quickly as possible as we do not want a single Service Member to be forgotten.

Can I request to support a Service Member from my area/state?

No. Regardless of what state a Service Member may be from, the unit or military base to which he is assigned depends on the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty).

Can I request to support a specific branch of the military?

AdoptaPlatoon supports all branches of the military but we do not always have Service Members from a particular branch available for support.  When this happens, you will be assigned Service Member(s) from any branch who has requested support.

Is there a set amount that I have to put in each care package?

The U.S. Postal Service provides free care package boxes for military support use called “America Supports You” boxes. You can send up to 70 pounds for a flat domestic rate. Visit your local post office for more information for all APO/FPO military mailings. APO stands for “Army Post Office” and is associated with Army or Air Force installations. FPO stands for “Fleet Post Office,” and is associated with Marine/ Navy installations and ships.  What does “AA,” “AE,” or “AP,” Mean? They are special military zip codes.

Are there mailing restrictions?

Yes. Visit https://www.usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm to learn more. Unsolicited religious material and anything consider pornographic is also strictly prohibited.

Can I just email my Service Member instead of sending letters?

AAP does not link Service Members to the public via email addresses.

What if I do not hear back from my Service Member? Do I keep writing and/or sending care packages to him/her?

The Troops always appreciate your letters and packages, but due to wartime conditions they are not always able to reply! A large percentage of our Troops are positioned in areas where their mail is delivered once a week, if they are lucky.  Continuing to send letters and support is our way of saying, “Thank you for serving on our behalf” without asking anything in return. If you require a response from your assigned Service Member or unit to continue the support process, AAP is not for you.

How do I know my Service Member is getting the letters and/or packages I send?

If your letters and/or packages are not returned to you within 3-4 weeks, you can be assured that your letters and/or packages have arrived.

How are the Service Members chosen for the supporters?

AAP makes assignments that are appropriate solely for the benefit of our deployed Troops taking into consideration marital status, age and gender of the supporter and the Service Member.

How much does it cost to send a care package?

Contact your local United States Post Office and ask about the “America Supports You” military support process and cost.

Will the Service Member(s) tell me what to send?

You are given a list of suggested items, but you may send what you wish.  You may also print out and send an AAP Questionnaire found on our website listed under “ABOUT.”

How does AAP acquire Military Service Members?

Troops must formally apply for AdoptaPlatoon support measures. This allows AAP to represent them and meet their needs to the best of our ability. All major support needs requested by the Troops are met via the AAP Troop Support Warehouse. Public support of the Troops is specifically for morale purposes

Why do you ask for my marital status?

It is a policy of AAP to never link single supporters to married Service Members.

Why do you need my child’s age or DOB for him or her to participate?

If you are supporting a Service Member on behalf of your minor child, we ask for their age or DOB for our records..

Will my information be shared with anyone else?

Information submitted is kept strictly confidential. The only exception to this rule is if a military commander requests information on the supporters linked to his/her unit.

Can I share the address of my assigned Service Member with family/friends who want to send something?

NO. Be sure to safeguard your platoon/unit’s information and AAP military campaign contacts and never publish deployed military addresses or Service Members’ names in newspapers, newsletters, or the Internet. It is our duty and responsibility to keep our Troops’ private information safeguarded for their protection.

Can you assign me a Service Member who does not have family or have anyone supporting him/her?

No. AAP accepts all military requests for support regardless of whether they have family support or not. If a Commander lets us know that Service Members in the unit are not receiving mail from home, we will assign appropriate supporters; otherwise, all requests for military support are treated equally

Is there a discount to ship packages to a Service Member?

Priority Mail “America Supports You” flat rate boxes are available from the USPS. When sending mail to deployed Troops we only pay domestic mailing rates. All packages sent to the Troops require a customs form and have discounted mailing rates. There are also strict restrictions on what you can send to a military Service Member. Learn more at Visit https://www.usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm

Where do I get the shipping supplies?

Free shipping supplies can be acquired by calling the USPS at 1-800-610-8734. Let them know you will be supporting the troops via AdoptaPlatoon and need to order “America Supports You” military care package boxes, shipping tape, mailing labels and customs forms.  The USPS also offers “military mailing kits” but we find them to be very small and do not recommend them.  For more information including actual flat rate fees, box sizes, and mailing restrictions call or visit your local post office and visit the USPS online at www.usps.com.  Mail to “any Service Member” is not allowed by the Department of Defense. Your military support is being sent to a specific military unit that is not considered an “any Service Member” type of mailing.

Should I insure my care packages?

No, it is not necessary.

Should I put tracking on care packages?

You can pay extra to add tracking to your care package, but all that does is tell you when it has entered the country; it does not show you when your Service Member picked it up. Please remember we are dealing with Military PO.

Do I need to put postage stamps on my letters?

Yes, you pay to mail your letters; your Service Member gets FREE POSTAGE for any letters/cards he or she sends.

Can I share Troop information sent to me?

All information contained in communications sent to verified supporters by AAP via email or ground mail concerning Troop support is confidential and privileged and is to be used solely within AAP guidelines for approved supporters ONLY. Please do not send or share troop names, email addresses, or mailing addresses with anyone. Do not publish Troop information within any public forum including other support programs, newsletters, blogs, email and newspapers. WE MUST GUARD OUR TROOPS’ PRIVACY AND SAFETY AND WE DEPEND ON YOU FOR THAT

Can I send homemade baked goods?

It’s always best to have permission from the Service Member/platoon POC (point of contact) before you send any homemade goodies, because many of them are not allowed to have them for security reasons.

Are there special instructions for kids/students/minors when writing to a service member?

If you have minors (children under the age of 18) participating, it would be inappropriate for a minor to personally communicate with deployed Service Members. We ask our parents/adult leaders to please be sure and instruct their children to sign their first name only and not put any personal information when writing letters.

Is money spent on items to send to the Troops tax deductible?

The IRS states that in order for a donation to be taken as a charitable deduction on your taxes, the donation, whether it be monetary or product donation, must be given directly to the nonprofit. A monetary donation directly to AdoptaPlatoon in order for us to continue the major support needed by the troops is a tax-deductible charitable gift and can be deducted as such. Donations can be made on the AAP website—they are desperately needed and will be deeply appreciated.

Do you accept International applications?

Due to current security issues, we are not accepting applicants who live outside of the United States at this time.

What is my next step once I receive my military assignment?

Reply back to the AAP Corps Linking Mom to let her know you received and are accepting the assignment. Then write/send your initial letter. Be sure to mention you are an approved AAP supporter. Our Troops like to know how you received their name/address.

Why haven’t I received my Service Member/platoon assignment?

Keep checking your Spam/Junk folders, as many servers tend to put AAP assignments in these folders due to the length of these assignments.  It is so important to read all of the AdoptaPlatoon Soldier/Platoon Delivery Letter (SDL) in its entirety.  We have included a wealth of information to help you achieve a successful support measure.

What if I’m unable to continue my support?

If at any time you find you cannot continue support to your assigned Service Member/Platoon, please notify us immediately at info@adoptaplatoon.org with the name and address so we can reassign the Service Member.

What if my supporter application won’t submit?

If you are having a problem submitting your application: Be sure you are filling out the form completely; clear your cookies or make sure your browser accepts cookies; try using another browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, etc.). Send all the required information to info@adoptaplatoon.org.

What do I write about if my Service Member is unable to correspond?

It isn’t necessary to a write letter every week.  The whole idea is to make sure your Service Member receives mail on a continuous basis. It doesn’t have to be just handwritten letters.  Below are a few suggestions. The idea is that your Service Member knows that he/she has not been forgotten and will be getting mail from home with his/her name on it:

  1. Send encouraging greeting cards and just sign your name.
  2. Send funny or interesting news articles from the newspapers.
  3. Send postcards and some photos from your area.
  4. Print out funny jokes or riddles from the Internet that are appropriate to send. Wait to send the answer to the riddles the following week. Tear a page or two out of puzzle books and mail them with encouraging words on a Post-It Note. Send the Comics/Sports page/Word Puzzle from your Sunday paper. Stick a Post It Note thanking him for his service to our country.

Please don’t forget that you can assist the AAP Troop Support Warehouse. Be involved in getting safe, effective, urgent needs met for our Service Members. You can donate as you wish via Pay Pal on the AAP website, www.adoptaplatoon.org, and you can also sign up to give a monthly gift via the following link:

https://secure.ifr-ors.com/AdoptaPlatoon/PlatoonPatriot/index.asp?info=ERW99

 

All donations are tax-deductible and very much needed and deeply appreciated