Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Phone cards are good gifts for U.S. soldiers.
Origins: This is yet another example of a request that got out of
In early November 2004, a version of the solicitation quoted above began to be circulated on the Internet. Though at one time long distance calling cards might have been the "number ONE request" of soldiers lying wounded at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, since the advent of the
We contacted the folks at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to inquire about the much-forwarded request for phone cards for injured soldiers. According to the harried young man who answered the phone, they ask those wishing to donate such items to hold off until March 2005 because they already have far more than they need. One of our readers who made a similar call days earlier was told they had been "well blessed" with phone cards and were having trouble using them before they expired.
We next contacted the American Red Cross office at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to ask what they knew about the request for phone cards. The equally harried person there confirmed what Walter Reed had said — the facility had received thousands of such cards and was asking the public to please not send any more at this time. Our further inquiry as to what sorts of other things wounded soldiers recuperating there would like to receive was met with the news that the patients had everything they needed and the Red Cross was asking folks to please not send anything more at this time and to check back with them no earlier than January 2005 regarding further beneficences.
Our mid-December 2004 findings about the state of donations at that facility were confirmed by
So many gifts for injured troops and their families have poured into Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., that they have run out of space and are asking well-wishers to give elsewhere.Both facilities are currently described as having "bins upon bins upon bins of phone cards."
Overwhelmed by thousands of items like CD and DVD players, quilts, toiletries, clothes and food - not to mention huge stacks of prepaid phone cards - Walter Reed this week urged people to wait until February or March to send items. An official at the naval hospital requested that contributions be postponed until March.
In Bethesda, gifts fill an office and its back room, a classroom and a warehouse, said Marine
At Walter Reed, Lee described a 40-by-60-foot storage room nearly filled to its
The Red Cross office at Walter Reed still welcomes cash donations, but on the understanding that such funds can be used for the benefit of all soldiers, not just the ones being treated at Walter Reed. Those wishing to make such gifts are asked to mail their checks to: American Red Cross, Walter Reed Army Medical Center,
Those of altruistic bent who still feel a need to do something for soldiers this holiday season should examine the variety of programs offered under the Stars and Stripes link listed below. That the wounded soldiers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed do not at this time need phone cards does not mean thousands of others who serve in the American armed forces wouldn't greatly appreciate whatever benevolences the altruistic were moved to direct their way.
Barbara "soldier buoyed" Mikkelson
Some Ways To Support Servicemembers (Stars and Stripes)
Last updated: 1 January 2005
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