U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is encouraging Oregonians to participate in "Operation USO Care Package" by making private donations to pay for care packages for American military personnel serving overseas.

To make a donation to "Operation USO Care Package" by phone, call (800) 876-7469. Customer-service representatives are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to accept donations. To donate via regular mail, make your check payable to the USO and mail it to USO World Headquarters, Department WS, P.O. Box 96860, Washington, DC 20090-6860.

For more information on the USO's "Operation Care Package," including information on how to make online donations, please click on the following link: http://www.uso.org/pubs/93_325_1391.cfm.

The care package campaign, which is being organized by the United Service Organizations (USO), will allow individuals to send a message of support to armed forces members serving around the world. More than 200,000 American military personnel are currently stationed in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Middle East as part of a buildup of forces that may be called upon to invade Iraq.

The USO is chartered by the Congress as a nonprofit charitable corporation and is endorsed by the President and the Department of Defense. Each USO care package requires a contribution of $25, which is tax deductible. The care packages will include items specifically requested by service members, such as prepaid calling cards, disposable cameras and sunscreen.

In years past, Americans could send care packages to "Any Service Member," but the tradition has ended because of heightened security concerns.

"Sending a care package to a member of the armed forces is a great way to show one's support for the men and women serving our country in uniform," said Walden. "Regardless of each individual's stance on the potential war with Iraq, we should all support the military personnel who have been called upon to leave their families behind and serve our country under difficult circumstances. Gestures like these not only provide our armed forces members with much appreciated amenities, but also remind them that the American public is grateful for their service to theU.S."

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