In times of crisis, our military steps up and it is our duty as military supporters to strengthen those who serve. During this unprecedented time of social distancing, quarantines and isolation, the USO’s mission of strengthening service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country is more critical than ever before. COVID-19 is a global health emergency impacting everyone. However, for our troops and military families this pandemic is creating additional hardships for individuals who are already sacrificing while they continue to serve the county and carry out missions around the world.
Thousands of troops and families are restricted to base, ships and some service members are under precautionary quarantine or in isolation
National Guardsmen are being deployed to support civil authorities in areas being hit hardest by coronavirus
Travel restrictions were enforced just as Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moving season was beginning, meaning hundreds of families are now finding themselves separated from their items already shipped
Military spouses, who often find themselves managing as a single parent, are now also dealing with childcare closures and home schooling
As the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the military, and their families, the USO remains in close alignment with military commands and goes where no other nonprofit can go to support the emergent needs of our Armed Forces. With the scale and reach of the USO, we are an organization able to mobilize and help service members and military families being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak – at home and abroad.
USO San Diego has changed their focus to assist with emergent matters of providing essential product (hygiene and food) to Active Duty personnel working the front lines. The team has also been working hard to respond fast to the Military family members in need during COVID-19. We have been able to distribute goods through our Mobile Farmers Market and to those requesting resources with our Resource Request Forms.
As the COVID-19 outbreak is quickly evolving, the USO has pivoted resources across the county in an approach that helps care for military members and their families, while also aiding in reducing the spread of the virus. A few examples of USO San Diego support in action include:
USO San Diego is sending care packages to troops in quarantine on the installations around the county; these care packages include toiletries, snacks, food, and items for morale
We are doing everything possible to keep our local USO centers open; this is at the request of military leaders: we remain supporting essential troop movement in collaboration with DOD officials at our Airport Facility; helping thousands of service members get in and out of San Diego; those that come into the facility are medically screened and then sent to their commands. USO San Diego continues to help providing transportation, food, toiletries and of course the space within the Airport Facility that allows for this movement to occur and remain efficient.
We are adapting traditional center programs to virtual platforms, including entertainment engagements, story time for families, and popular military spouse programming / networking events; offering topics such as professional development and STEM courses.
Our Headquarters Entertainment continues to do what we have done for 79 years, connect with talent to entertain the troops and their families; celebrity engagement such as Live with Martha Stewart “Craft time, Instagram lives with Comedians such as Iliza Shlesinger and Online Celebrity Engagements with actors such as Justin Melnick; we are virtually shifting and providing a unique opportunity for celebrities to chat with our Nation’s Heroes and their families.
USO San Diego’s Mobile Unit is deployed across the county providing drive through programming such as: o Food and Diaper Distributions o Military Family Dinners o Military Family Morale Fun Kits such as “Disney Movie and Popcorn” and “Organic Seeds for your Growing Gardens”
Our Warehouse and Mobile Team is busy at work supporting our essential personnel on installations such as gate guards, military fire / rescue, field operations, and military healthcare workers through directly military leadership and providing essential support through product and services such as hygiene products, laundry pods, individually wrapped snacks, drinks, and morale-focused programming such as puzzles, adult coloring books and individual work out equipment like resistance bands and jump ropes.
USO San Diego keeps pace with emerging needs and opportunities as the COVID19 evolves, we have launched the Combat COVID-19 Initiative and are looking to raise funds in the San Diego area that will remain in the San Diego area for local troop personnel and family support; below are a few photos of our troop movement outside our Airport facility, our Family Programming, and our Mobile Distributions.