The certificates, which can be purchased by any individual or civic organization, allow service members to purchase items of necessity and convenience at PX and BX facilities around the world.
"Gifts from the Homefront" certificates can be addressed to "any service member" or individual service members. Officials said AAFES' charitable partners have been key in the distribution of certificates earmarked for "any service member." The USO, American Red Cross, Air Force Aid Society and Fisher House have distributed more than 7,000 certificates, totaling more than $120,000, to deployed troops. Friends and family have purchased $283,645 in "Gifts from the Homefront" certificates for individual service members.
"Working with the USO, American Red Cross, Air Force Aid Society and Fisher House has allowed AAFES to get certificates into the hands of service members that need them most," said Army Lt. Col. Debra Pressley, AAFES' chief of corporate communications. "AAFES' relationship with these charitable partners allows any American to have a direct impact on the morale of a deployed service member, even if they don't have a name or address for a particular soldier or airman."
Because the gift certificates can be used for merchandise already stocked at contingency locations, "Gifts from the Homefront" are a safe alternative to traditional care packages that can strain the military mail system and present force protection issues. Service members can purchase exactly what they need with the certificates because they can be applied to a wide range of products, AAFES officials said. Reports from Operation Iraqi Freedom indicate that donated certificates are being used for CDs and DVDs, comfort items such as snacks and beverages, and phone cards.
Those wishing to send a "Gift from the Homefront" can simply log on to the AAFES Web site or call (877) 770-4438 toll-free to buy gift certificates in $10 or $20 denominations. From there, the "Gift from the Homefront" may be sent to an individual service member designated by the purchaser or distributed to "any service member" through the USO, American Red Cross, Air Force Aid Society or Fisher House.
"Gifts from the Homefront" gift certificates can be redeemed at AAFES facility worldwide, including its 56 stores throughout central and southwest Asia.