Supporting Military Families with 150 Refurbished Computers

Ed. Note: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are asking all Americans to take action to support our Nation's military families. By donating refurbished desktops, Operation Homelink is helping families stay connected to loved ones during deployment -- just one of the many ways people are stepping up to support our military families.

Cross-posted from the OurMilitary.mil blog.

Operation Homelink, a nonprofit 501(c)3, presented 150 refurbished desktops to families of deploying service members on April 3 at the St. Cloud National Guard Armory.

“The Minnesota National Guard’s State Family Programs Office identified 150 families that would be left without computers during their loved one’s deployment,” said Army Cpt. Jackie Stenger, Family Programs Officer, Minnesota National Guard.

Operation Homelink, a Chicago-based, non-profit presented 150 refurbished

Operation Homelink, a Chicago-based, non-profit presented 150 refurbished computers to families of the 1/34 BCT, 1-194th CAV, 2-135 IN, Minn. National Guard soldiers scheduled to deploy to the Middle East in May on April 3, 2011. (Photo by Operation Homelink) April 3, 2011. (by Operation Homelink)

“When a service member is deployed, a computer serves as a lifeline between that service member and their loved ones back home,” said Stenger. “Operation Homelink provides computers to families of deployed service members who may otherwise not have one. This generous program helps to ease the pain of separation, giving the service member the communication with their loved ones that is so important and allowing them to focus on their mission.”

Most service members have access to e-mail while deployed, including sites throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, but the situation is often different for their families back home, said Stenger. Troops rely on correspondence from family members during demanding deployments, but the families may not able to afford computers and must rely on conventional mail or expensive phone calls to stay in touch.

Operation Homelink provides refurbished computers to the spouses or parents of deployed, junior enlisted service members enabling e-mail communication with their loved one deployed overseas, said Stenger.

In May, 2,400 Minnesota Army National Guard service members of the Bloomington-based 1st Brigade Combat Team34th Infantry Division, will deploy in support of Operation New Dawn, said Stenger.

Community members can support this deployment, and all future deployments, by donating their retired laptop computers, said Stenger. Large donations of used laptop computers are needed to help the thousands of military families wishing to communicate with their deployed loved one and/or recovering wounded warriors. This donation requires no monetary donation, is tax-deductible, and also reduces the number of computers in landfills.

State Family Programs Office is a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program that assists the families of service members throughout the deployment process by coordinating local resources and support, said Stenger. For more information about Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, including other organizations that support service members throughout the deployment process, visit www.BeyondTheYellowRibbon.org.

Your Federal Tax Receipt