Web site lets citizens send packages to troops

A new Internet site presents the opportunity for Americans to contact troops during the campaign against terrorism.

With a banner reading "Support our troops, support our country," Adoptasoldier.com provides a channel of communication between citizens and soldiers and sailors stationed abroad.

"The men and women of the military are there all the time," said Lynette Griffin, the site coordinator. "More people need to recognize that."

According to Griffin, the Web site was established Sept. 15 and went public Sept. 17. It received 10,000 hits in its first two weeks.

"The biggest motivation (for starting the site) was the e-mail I was receiving," Griffin said. "A lot of people on the Internet were taking advantage of people. I experienced a bogus networking scam, and after talking to a coworker, this was the only thing we could think of to do to help."

At its inception, Adoptasoldier.com involved the exchange of letters and packages between citizens and service people. Its operations have since adapted to protect service people from anthrax attacks.

"We no longer encourage people to send cards or letters," Griffin said. "We suggest that adopters send postcards to make contact and make the service people feel comfortable."

Griffin said service people will be more likely to accept packages arriving after the postcard is sent. She also said the military accepts no packages from unknown senders.

America's young adults can have a significant impact by communicating with their peers stationed internationally Griffin said.

"There are more young service people, those in their first tour, than there are men and women who have been in the military longer," Griffin said. "It is important to see the younger generation out there helping."

Griffin estimated 1,000 college students are currently involved with adopting and corresponding with service people.

"We would like to see more younger people involved with this, such as a dorm adopting a platoon, maybe," Griffin said.

According to Griffin, close to 10,000 people -- adopters, soldiers and sailors -- are currently involved in the program.

"Our biggest goal is to keep this thing going," Griffin said.


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