Imagine someone close to you — an older brother, a friend, a neighbor — stationed overseas, away from his or her family during the holidays. Keeping in contact with loved ones back in America can be hard, and during the holiday season, the troops may need an extra pick-me-up from the people they have sworn to protect.

DEAR SOLDIERS at the University of Michigan is organized by three Michigan students: Hallie Parker, Caroline Colosimo and Caroline Kowalski. The event is targeted toward the university’s students and faculty, and hopes to raise awareness for those fighting overseas. Its goal is to collect Thank You letters that will be sent to troops in Iraq with the hopes of lifting their spirits during the holiday season. Parker, Colosimo and Kowalski have partnered with Operation Gratitude, an organization dedicated to collecting letters and assembling care packages for deployed soldiers and Veterans.

To raise awareness, DEAR SOLDIERS will offer free red, white and blue baked goods, candies and lollipops to students and faculty in Mason Hall. This Veterans Day, November 11th, 2013, DEAR SOLDIERS will be stationed in Mason Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where participants can bring already-written letters, or stop by and write them at specially designated tables. Monetary donations are also welcome, as well as gifts for the troops. For those unable to make the event on the 11th, DEAR SOLDIERS will also be providing a drop-box for letters and donations until November 18th in Professor Scheer’s office at 3133 Angell Hall. Grab a piece of candy and write a thank you letter – you don’t know the difference your words can make.
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