ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — For more than 50 years, the United Service Organizations (USO) and the National Football League (NFL) have worked together to honor, empower, and connect the military community through a shared love of football.
The organizations are now teaming up to prepare 10,000 USO care packages during the 2021 Kickoff Experience on Thursday, September 9 from noon-11 p.m. ET at the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa, Florida.
«The holidays are an especially challenging time for service members who are separated from their families and friends,» said USO CEO and President J.D. Crouch II. «Delivering care packages — like those assembled during the 2021 Kickoff Experience by the NFL, supporters and fans — is just one way we are giving more than thanks to service members. The USO is grateful for the NFL’s continued support as our organizations strive to make a difference in the military community.»
Those attending the NFL Kickoff Experience can visit the USO booth to volunteer to help assemble care packages and learn more about the USO mission. Event participants will help prepare snack packs, which include popular food and drink items to bring a taste of home to our troops.
The USO will then include the snack packs in the larger USO Holidays care packages, which are delivered as festive drawstring bags of holiday goodies to service members around the world. These care packages help express America’s gratitude to our Armed Forces while strengthening their connections to family, home, and country during the upcoming holiday season.
USO Holidays is a seasonal campaign to bring cheer and reminders of home to service members who are unable to be with their loved ones during this special time of year. Through this sponsorship, the NFL is supporting holiday programming and events at military locations around the world. The Kickoff Experience will serve as the first USO partner care package event of 2021.
«Service members and their families sacrifice so much to protect our country, so we are proud to help bring them together through our passion for football and the delivery of USO Holidays care packages,» said Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of social responsibility. «The NFL has a long tradition of supporting the military, and we look forward to continuing that tradition during this year’s Kickoff Experience and beyond.»
The NFL has partnered with the USO for more than half a century to support the nation’s military by:
- Creating a home away from home –The NFL provides funding to help build and renovate USO locations around the world. These centers serve as a valued place of respite, comfort, connection and entertainment for service members and their families. This season, the NFL will focus on the USO’s United Kingdom location in Lakenheath, which will support approximately 22,000 active-duty service members stationed throughout the UK.
- Helping service members connect through gaming – The NFL and USO will bring football to our troops through an NFL Salute to Service gaming league this NFL season, culminating in a championship event during Super Bowl week. Service members from all branches of the military will be invited to connect through fun weekly gaming competitions, which boost morale while easing the difficulties of isolation or separation from loved ones.
- Encouraging military appreciation – Each fall, the NFL highlights its military appreciation efforts on field through its Salute to Service initiative and other special events honoring veterans, active-duty service members and their families. NFL teams will designate one home game to honor the military and the USO throughout November. The NFL also traditionally coordinates events and programs with local USO locations and military communities. Additionally, the NFL supports an annual matching campaign that encourages fans and supporters to donate to the USO mission.
- Participating in USO entertainment engagements – The USO and NFL work together on coordinating various opportunities for service members to engage with their favorite NFL players and coaches. This includes USO Military Virtual Programming (MVP) and MVP Champions series, tours, and meet and greets.
About the USO:
The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, the support of our corporate partners, and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the NFL’s Salute to Service:
Salute to Service is the NFL’s year-long initiative to honor, empower and connect our nation’s service members, veterans and their families. Since 2011, this effort has raised more than $44 million for military and veteran support organizations such as the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF), Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), United Service Organizations (USO) and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). For more information on Salute to Service, visit NFL.com/Salute.
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