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Your Gift Can Help Connect Troops and their Families

Donating to charity is an easy way to put the spirit of the holidays into action. What makes it feel even better is to see how your donation makes a difference.

In the Balk Province of Afghanistan, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kelvin Carter (pictured here) was preparing to return home last year after serving a nine-month tour as a medical mentor to the ANA 209th Corps. He took a moment of down time to make a call to his family in Houston using a donated American Red Cross phone card.

"I'm not exactly sure who will read this," said Carter, "but just know that we are appreciative of everything given to us. It's good to know that someone is thinking about us and our families, and with the card, it's one less thing we have to worry about."

With the public’s generous support, the Red Cross is able to provide items such as phone cards to troops deployed overseas, as well as critical emergency communication services through its worldwide network of Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) stations.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kelvin Carter at Camp Mike Spann, Afghanistan, calls his family in Houston in August 2010 using a donated Red Cross phone card. "The American Red Cross is doing its part in breaking the communication barrier for deployed troops," said Army Sgt. Maj. James Allen. "It provides prepaid phone cards to our fighting forces so that contacting loved ones, or taking care of business back home, becomes much easier. It alleviates a lot of stress that soldiers build up from knowing that they aren't able to contact key people in their lives."

For more ways to support the troops, visit the 2011 Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog.