Did you know that there are around 2 million men and women on active duty right now and 850,000 in the reserves? Millions of American families have made great sacrifices to serve and protect their country.

If you want to find a way to honor these brave men and women, you don’t need to wait for Memorial Day or Labor Day. Besides wearing marine shorts, shirts, and other apparel, there are many ways to show your appreciation and support our troops and their families – here are just four of them.

1. Send a Care Package

While sending care packages to service members is a tangible way to let them know that the American people are thinking of them, it can be complicated.

Instead of sending care packages through the military, consider making a monetary donation to the United Service Organizations (USO). They will then send a care package to a deployed soldier on your behalf. Another way to send something to a soldier is through the USO Wishbook. You can choose a gift or a care package from the USO Wishbook catalog, and it will be sent to a deployed soldier on your behalf.

2. Say ‘Thank You’

One of the simplest ways to show deployed soldiers and military members you care is to thank them for their service.

The Blue Star 2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey revealed that 81% of service members on active duty feel that the civilians don’t grasp the enormity of the sacrifices they have to make. This outlook leads to military members feeling isolated, impacting their morale and operational readiness.

Doing something as simple as acknowledging a soldier or military spouse’s sacrifices and thanking them for their service can positively affect your local military community. A simple ‘thank you’ bridges the divide between the military and civilians and lets military members know that you appreciate and value the work they do.

3. Support Military Spouses

Deployed service members and their spouses face immense challenges. Military spouses are separated from their partners and have to take care of the household alone. Military spouses with children have to shoulder an even more significant parental burden – often for months at a time.

One of the best ways to support our troops is to help and support their spouses and families at home. A way to do this is to reach out to a military spouse and offer to cook them a meal, help them with errands, or even just ask them how they are doing.

4. Volunteer with the USO

While there are many organizations where you can volunteer to help the troops, you can witness the impact of your support firsthand by volunteering with the USO. USO locations always need volunteers to facilitate USO events and programs to support military members and their families.

Although volunteer work in USO can be challenging, it is gratifying to be able to support the military community and ensure they have enough resources for their missions.