Arlington, VA, Aug. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Honor. Empower. Connect. Those are the key pillars of a 55-plus year relationship between the National Football League (NFL) and the United Service Organizations (USO) that serve as a foundation for a suite of activities throughout the football season and beyond, starting with the NFL Kickoff Experience on September 8, 2022.
At the NFL Kickoff Experience held at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach, California, fans will have the opportunity to join the NFL and the USO in assembling 10,000 care packages on Thursday, September 8. These care packages will be shipped, and hand delivered to service members the world – including those troops around Eastern Europe – during the holiday season. Event participants will help prepare snack packs, which include popular food and drink items to bring a taste of home to our troops and ensure they have essential items for their care and comfort.
The USO will then include the snack packs in larger USO Holidays care packages, which are delivered as festive drawstring bags of holiday goodies to service members around the world. These care packages will help express America’s gratitude to our Armed Forces while strengthening their connections to family, home, and country during the upcoming holiday season.
“We are very grateful for the partnership with the NFL as they help the USO deliver our mission. The contributions they make have a real impact on the lives of our service members and their families, especially during the holiday season, which is one of the most times for those who are challenging and separated from loved ones,” said Larissa Rydin, Vice President for Corporate Alliances at the USO.
“The NFL is proud to partner with the USO year-round as part of our Salute to Service initiative which looks to honor, empower, and connect military members and their families,” said Melissa Pardi, the NFL’s Senior Director of Social Responsibility. “Putting together and providing these packages to our service members overseas during the holiday season is a small way for the NFL and our fans to show our gratitude to those sacrificing so much for our freedom and safety.”
The NFL’s impact extends well past the first game of the football season. Throughout the year, the NFL is by the side of our nation’s military in so many ways, including:
- Creating a home away from home –The NFL provides funding for USO facilities around the world. These centers offer a place of comfort and respite for those traveling or just taking a much-needed break. Last November, the USO’s United Kingdom location in Lakenheath opened thanks to the generosity of the NFL. This center supports more than 22,000 active-duty service members stationed throughout the UK.
- Bringing gaming to the troops – The NFL and USO rolled out a brand new, state-of-the-art gaming trailer that is sent to military installations throughout the United States to provide service members an opportunity to play video games and connect. With six stations each equipped with an Xbox, PS5, and PC gaming capabilities, service members have a wide variety of games to play. The gaming trailer will also make appearances at various USO events and at Super Bowl LVII in February 2023.
- Salute to Service Showdown: USO Gaming Madden NFL 23 Tournament – For the second year, the USO will host a tournament that invites active-duty service members from all branches and across the country to connect and compete for the prize of receiving tickets to the Super Bowl. Qualifiers will begin in September and the championship will take place in November during the NFL’s dedicated Salute to Service month. Join the USO Discord (discord.gg/theuso) for tournament updates.
- Encouraging military – appreciation Continuing one of the greatest traditions in sports, the NFL will highlight its military appreciation efforts on field through its Salute to Service initiative and other special events honoring veterans, active-duty service members, and their families. Teams will designate one home game to honor the military and the USO throughout November.
- Year-round partnership – The NFL stands by the side of the USO all year long, including in the fall when it supports an annual matching campaign that encourages fans and supporters to donate to the USO mission. During the NFL Draft, the USO also has a presence on-site to educate the public about its mission and encourage the public to send messages of support to service members around the world. And during Fleet Weeks, the NFL provides one-of-a-kind experiences for sailors, Marines, Coast Guard members, and their families.
- Entertaining service members and their families – There is nothing like seeing a service member’s face light up when they see an NFL player in person. The USO and NFL work together on coordinating various opportunities for service members to engage with their favorite NFL players and coaches. When it is not possible for players to meet troops and families in person, players visit online through the USO’s Military Virtual Programming (MVP).
Follow the USO on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates. Join the conversation using #SalutetoService, #BeTheForce, and #USOHolidays on social media.
About the USO:
The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programmes, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, the support of our corporate partners, and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the NFL’s Salute to Service:
Salute to Service is the NFL’s year-long initiative to honor, empower and connect our nation’s service members, veterans and their families. Since 2011, this effort has raised more than $58 million for military and veteran support organizations such as the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF), Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), United Service Organizations (USO) and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). For more information on Salute to Service, visit NFL.com/Salute.