Maybe you have been hoping to find a military pen pal, but don’t know where to look. Perhaps you are wanting to know how to make a soldier pen pal but didn’t know how to get started.
This article will cover some of the reasons you should write to a soldier, a step-by-step guide on how to make a soldier pen pal, some of the top pen pal organizations you can use, where else to find soldiers to write to, what to say in a letter, letter writing tips, and more!
If you’ve ever thought about supporting our troops by writing to them or just want to make a pen pal, you’ve come to the right place. With the help of this article, you will learn how to spread cheer and goodwill to those who need encouragement the most right now.
Also, don’t forget to grab a copy of the FREE printable Soldier Pen Pal Letter Template and my Letter Writing Product Recommendations in the free resources.
Why You Should Make a Soldier Pen Pal
There are many reasons you should write a soldier or member of the military. If you think about it, how much time does it really take to write a letter to a soldier? You will be making a small effort that may impact the lives of soldiers in a BIG way!
Here are just a few of the reasons you should make a soldier pen pal!
Reason #1 – Impact the lives of soldiers!
You WILL be impacting the lives of our heroes if you make a soldier pen pal!
According to USA Today, the suicide rate for active-duty soldiers has spiked over the last few years! In 2019 alone, nearly 500 died from suicide. So, what can YOU do to help these numbers decrease?
The solution to a problem like this is never simple, but the efforts you make can be simple. Just write a letter as a REMINDER of home!
Soldiers need to hear from the citizens they have sworn to protect – to know they are making a difference in the lives of those they are helping!
You’ll be boosting morale for soldiers who NEED to hear from you and putting a BIG smile on the face of a soldier! All you need to do is to make a soldier pen pal! That’s pretty easy; wouldn’t you agree?
The military needs support and encouragement as they continue their mission to work to defend our freedom!
It generally takes less than 15 minutes to write, address, and send a letter to a soldier. Many of the soldiers you write to do not get mail when mail call comes. Can you imagine if all your co-workers received something special and you got nothing? Help a lonely soldier today!
Related: How to Encourage Someone (100 Unique and Easy Ways)
Reason #2 – The benefits of volunteering are numerous!
You get SO much more when you give than when you receive! Imagine getting warm fuzzies each time you wrote a letter to a soldier! The goosebumps you get from volunteering actually help your hair and nails grow as well – if that is something that interests you!
Forbes discusses more reasons that volunteer work has been PROVEN to give you more than you receive.
For one thing, you feel like you have more time! Imagine feeling more organized with more time to do those things you never got around to doing!
Another reason to volunteer your time is to help lonely soldiers or those in need of comfort. This good deed helps you develop new skills. You might learn how to be a writer with the practice of writing letters to soldiers or veterans.
You’ll also be networking and meeting new people, depending on the way you decide to volunteer your time!
Believe it or not, but volunteer work has been shown to make you healthier. Research, according to the Forbes article, shows that pro bono work leads to a healthier body, perhaps even reducing the risk of heart disease!
A final benefit that the Forbes article mentions is getting love from others. Giving your love to those in need actually gives you love and makes you feel more love from others. While we can’t measure love, we can measure the level of happiness we believe we have.
According to one study mentioned in the Forbes article, they found that the more people volunteered, the happier they felt. I don’t know about you, but that is reason enough to get involved! Who doesn’t want to have more happiness in their lives?
Related: How to Volunteer and Be an Elf All Year
Reason #3 – You may make a life-long friendship in the process!
You might build an AWESOME friendship in the process! Writing back and forth to someone can lead to a life-long relationship that you will be forever grateful for. Imagine having an ongoing conversation with someone you have never met.
You may start out as just a friendly stranger writing a soldier a letter, but the growth possibilities are endless!
Related: The Benefits of Having Friends
Reason #4 – You are offering thanksgiving to our heroes!
SHOW your gratitude in letters to soldiers. Sure, we can hang our flags in support of our American heroes – those who are out there fighting for our freedom, but is that enough? There is so much more you can do!
Consider sending a letter or care package to the military!
As we’ll cover when we talk about what to include in your soldier pen pal letter, it’s crucial that you thank our military personnel for all they are doing! Writing a simple letter shows support and means the world to those who are out there in a foreign land defending our freedom!
Related: How to Make a Friendship that Lasts
Reason #5 – This is a simple and easy way to support our country!
Writing letters shows you support and care about what they are doing for OUR country! As mentioned, the military is out there fighting for YOUR freedom. Write a soldier a letter to show that you appreciate what he or she is doing for you!
Related: How to Write a Soldier a Letter of Encouragement
How to Make a Soldier Pen Pal: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Pick an Organization.
Unless you already know a soldier, you will need to choose a non-profit organization or letter-writing program to use to send your letter to the military member.
Because some soldiers work in military hot zones or areas in which their location cannot be released to the general public, you will likely be sending the letter to an anonymous address. Don’t worry, though; your letter will make its way to the soldier.
Just pick an organization that speaks to your heart, and you can then send your letter through their mailing process. They may just want anonymous thank you letters, where you do not write back and forth to a soldier.
Some organizations do allow you to make soldier pen-pals, however. This way, you can write back and forth and really get to know each other. If you’d prefer to send a standard form-like letter to quite a few different soldiers, you can do that as well. See the free letter writing template for this article in the free resources section of this website!
That’s what’s great about doing charity work like this. You get to do it in the comfort of your home, and you have a lot of flexibility in who you write to and how often you decide to send letters to your soldier pen pals.
A few of the different charities you might want to consider include Operation Gratitude, Soldiers’ Angels, and A Million Thanks. You can use several organizations if you wish to write many letters!
Related: How to Find the Right Volunteer Opportunity
Step 2: Write a Thoughtful Letter.
Writing a thoughtful letter to a soldier can be a tall order if you do not know what to say. However, in several articles on this website, we have provided you with the information you need to write a stellar letter to a soldier.
One thing that is important when you are writing your letter is to be empathetic to the best of your ability. Try to put yourself in their shoes.
Ask yourself the following questions to help determine the best things to say to a soldier.
- What would you want to hear if you were a soldier?
- What do you think about the living arrangements where they are at?
- How often would you like to receive letters or packages from someone back home?
- What would you miss the most about home?
- What sort of thing would lift your spirit if you were down and lonely?
Related: How to Start Writing to Soldiers
Step 3: Send the Letter.
Each organization is different when it comes to sending letters to soldiers. Some of them find it helpful when you send multiple letters at once to include in the care packages they send overseas. Others will give you an address for an individual soldier to write to.
For more clues on how to write letters of encouragement, check out this article: Letters of Encouragement to Prisoners. Also, Encouraging Words for Someone in Jail may help!
Step 4: Continue Writing Your Soldier Pen Pal!
Now is the time for the fun part! You can just continue to write your pen pal over the long run and form a genuine friendship with someone you have never met. Share pieces of information about yourself a little at a time, and they will surely be glad to have you as a pen pal.
In fact, they’ll want to get to know you better, especially as they get used to receiving your letters during mail call. You can truly brighten the lives of soldiers through this simple act. Give them something to look forward to!
Related: Build a Friendship for Life
Top 5 Soldier Pen Pal Organizations
There are many pen pal organizations that are working to connect giving citizens with soldiers. If this is a cause you are passionate about, the right volunteer organization is out there to help you!
These are just a few of the organizations available.
#1. Soldiers’ Angels
At Soldiers’ Angels, the mission is to write letters to deployed service members to make sure they never feel alone. They give you the opportunity to write to soldiers who have signed up because they need an extra boost of support or are waiting to be officially “adopted.”
This fun and rewarding commitment only requires you to write one letter per month (or more) and donate at least $1.00 per month. Since you can request up to 2 names per day with up to almost 15 names and addresses per week, you are essentially able to write 60 (15 X 4) letters for $1.00!
How to Get Started Writing Letters with Soldiers’ Angels
Step One: Join Now.
Fill out an application, and choose how you wish to get involved. You will need to donate $1.00, but that small fee is for an entire month and up to 15 names and addresses per week!
Step Two: Select the Volunteer Assistance You Wish to Provide.
Once they have confirmed your email address, you will receive a confirmation letter that will provide you with your log-in information, so you can then select a soldier based on their home state, gender, and other criteria.
Step Three: Write Your Soldier Contacts Physical Letters & Mail.
Once you receive an address for your soldier, you can write them a letter or two and drop it in your mailbox or hit the Post Office! If you need help with writing a soldier a letter, be sure to check out my template for soldier letter writing in the free resources!
Step Four: Report Your Support.
Because of the outpouring of support they receive from “angels” ready to represent the United States, they do ask that you report your support in their database, so they can keep track of everything. After that, rinse and repeat!
Other Ways to Volunteer with Soldiers’ Angels
There are many other ways to get involved in this charitable organization. You can support members of the military (Marines, Air Force, Navy, the National Guard, Army, and other soldiers) and military families. Some of these volunteer opportunities include:
- Adopt a Family
- Angel Bakers
- Baby Brigade
- Cards Plus
- Chaplain Support
- Deployed Adoption
- Ladies of Liberty
- Living Legends
- Sewing and Crafting (Related: Knitting for Charity)
- Women of Valor
#2. Operation Gratitude
At Operation Gratitude, their aim is to support and impact the lives of those in the military, first responders, and veterans. They are a full non-profit organization, so you do not pay for letters to soldiers or other heroes; it’s a free service. Donations are always welcome, though!
While this isn’t your typical pen pal organization (you will not be given a soldier’s specific email or address in the beginning), you can include your contact information if you are at least the age of 18. Soldiers are not required to reply to letters, but they may if they choose to.
How to Get Started Writing Letters with Operation Gratitude
Step One: Register.
Fill out an application, and wait for your letter writing guide and shipping instructions to arrive in your email. In this packet, you will also print pictures that you and your kids can color for your soldier pen pal. What fun – for both you and your military pen pal!
Step Two: Write Your Soldier Pen Pal a Letter & Get Ready to Mail.
Send all letters to Operation Gratitude, 9404 Owensmouth Avenue, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Practice your creative writing skills with your letters.
Don’t forget to include those adorable pictures you colored, too!
If you need help with writing a soldier a letter, be sure to check out the free template for soldier letter writing in the free resources section of this website!
Step Three: Report Your Donation of a Letter.
Complete the Donation Form before sending your letter, and they will send you confirmation via the email you entered. If you have multiple items to send, there are specific instructions for that.
Step Four: Mail Your Letter.
Operation Gratitude sends you an internal and external packing slip so that they can keep track of everything and make sure your letters make it to the intended recipients. You will still need to pay for postage, but it’s all pretty straightforward and easy to do!
Other Ways to Volunteer with Operation Gratitude
There are many more ways to get involved with this non-profit organization. You can support members of the military and their families or volunteer with other heroes (first responders and veterans). These are just a few of the volunteer opportunities available:
- Clean Your Stash Challenge (Related: Declutter for a Cause)
- Christmas Card Call to Action
- Starbucks Campaign
- Sending Care Packages
- Paracord Bracelets
- Handmade with Love
- Beanie Babies
Related: Operation Gratitude | How to Honor Soldiers Today
#3. Operation Military Matters
Operation Military Matters is always looking for new names of military members – people they can send free care packages to. There are many ways to get involved with Operation Military Matters if you want to check out their website.
If you would like to send a letter or card to go with the care packages that they send to the military, please send them to the following address:
Operation: Military Matters
PO Box 8132
Seminole, FL 33775
#4. Support Our Troops
Support Our Troops sends cards and letters of encouragement to deployed soldiers. The organization does not support your traditional pen-pal relationship, but you can send a letter or card of thanks to the soldiers to show your appreciation and love for the military.
Please mail all cards and letters to the following address:
Support Our Troops
13791 North Nebraska Avenue
Tampa, FL 33613
Please see their website for more ways you can get involved in this charity. You can join in a group or personal project, like letter writing, or even purchase a patriotic product for their cause.
#5. Homefront Hugs
Homefront Hugs will allow you to adopt a deployed soldier and support them. Their mission is to support our heroes and never make them feel as if they were forgotten! They appreciate personalized, heartfelt messages, cards, banners, or drawings from volunteers.
The process of writing letters is pretty easy. Just address it to one of the following so that they know to whom you are writing:
- For a Wounded Hero
- For a Deployed Hero
- For a Nurse
- For a Medic
- For a Sick Veteran
- For a Hospitalized Veteran
- For a Chaplain
- For a Tech
- For a Military Working Dog
Mail your letters or personalized items to the following address:
101 Fieldcrest Street, #103
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
There are many other ways to get involved with this charity, which you can read about on their website.
You can help military families during the holidays, for example, or join in Operation Pillow Hugs or Homefront Holiday Stocking Hugs. Isn’t that cute that you can support animals, too?
Where to Find a Soldier Pen Pal (Other Options)
While you can certainly write to troops overseas through a pen pal organization, here are some other ideas on how to make a military pen pal.
- Veterans’ Facilities
- Families and Friends of the Military
- Local Chapters of Military Support Agencies
- Community Centers
- Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Centers
- Soldier Support Centers
- Military Medical or VA Facilities
- Local Military Charities
- Local Chapters of DAF, VFW, or American Legion
- Charities with Veteran-Focused Outreach
- Start Your Own Military Pen Pal Campaign!
What to Include in a Letter to a Soldier
Whether you are writing a letter for the first time to a member of the military or have been writing your soldier pen pal for a long time, there’s always a question of what to say.
You might feel like you have nothing in common with your soldier pen pal, but there are still things you can say.
Find out what they love and hate. What do they miss the most about home? What would help them feel connected with their community back home again? Ask them about life in the military.
Talk About Yourself a Little
It’s okay to talk about yourself a little, too! Soldiers want to hear about the lives of those who write them; just don’t get carried away!
Remember that you are writing letters of encouragement, not a diary entry about your day. Your pen pal may want to learn more about you and what your passions are in life, but wait to share until he or she asks.
As you write more and more letters to your soldier pen pal, you can get more personal and talk more about yourself, especially if they ask a lot of questions!
Often, soldiers feel depressed because of their unfamiliar locations and stressful jobs, so write letters to raise their spirits!
Include quotes from your favorite motivational speakers or encouraging Bible verses. You can find a list of inspirational quotes on this website, and you’re welcome to use those!
Remember, the purpose of your writing letters to soldiers is to support them and lift their spirits. Some pen pal organizations do not allow you to include your contact information, so you will not hear back from the soldier, but remain positive!
It’s still crucial that you fulfill your mission of writing to soldiers for encouragement!
Show support and gratitude in each letter that you write!
Grab more help on what to write in this free printable download: Soldier Pen Pal Letter Template! It’s located with the free resources on this website!
Related: How to Encourage Someone and Why You Should Do It
Soldier Pen Pal Letter Writing Tips
If it’s your first time writing a soldier, you might just express your gratitude for what they are doing for our country.
If you don’t already know them, ask some questions. Ask them where they are from, what the weather is like where they are stationed, and what they do for fun.
Avoid discussing politics or the mission of their current assignment. You might want to explain why you are writing to them, what this cause means to you, and how grateful you are that they are doing their job!
Let them know you are appreciative of their service for your freedom!
As you write support letters to the men and women serving in the armed forces, you may need some additional guidance on what kind of words of encouragement to include.
Please note the following tips as you are writing your soldier pen pal.
- Be honest; be yourself; be genuine!
- Be consistent with your writing, and write often!
- Don’t get discouraged if it takes them a while to write you back.
- Express your gratitude for what they are doing!
- Handwrite the letters (It’s so much more meaningful!).
- Include a personal photo or two (if allowed).
- Be kind and respectful of your soldier pen pal’s private life.
- Consider sending a military care package.
- Include your mailing address and email address (if allowed).
- Communicate support and appreciation to the troops!
- Remind the soldier why they are fighting for our freedom!
- Include children’s drawings, letters, cards, or pictures.
- Write many letters or cards to the soldiers!
For more letter writing tips for your soldier pen pal, check out Soldiers’ Angels’ advice on how to write your first letter.
Related: How to Encourage Someone (What You Should Know)
For my best-recommended letter writing supplies, please check out my Recommended Letter Writing Resources in the free resources! I hope you find those goodies as awesome as I have!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I send cards to soldiers?
Many organizations love getting cards that they can include in care packages for soldiers. One organization, Support Our TroopsⓇ, allows you to send letters to troops overseas through them. Just mail your cards and letters to Support Our TroopsⓇ, 13792 N. Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL, 33613. Send many cards!
Do soldiers still write letters?
Many service members write letters or cards. They enlisted in the military service in the United States to serve our country, but they still love mail as much as the next person! Those who are stationed overseas love hearing from folks back at home to see how things are in America! Consider making a military pen pal today!
What do you write in a card to a soldier?
“Thank you for serving our country; you’re very brave and appreciated so much! I know your job can’t be easy, but we are glad you are there, protecting our freedom! You show courage and strength every day by just showing up for work. Please continue your great service to our nation!”
What do soldiers want in care packages?
Candy, card games, paperback books, cards, letters, and crafts are all great ideas for a military care package! Think about light and portable items, as many service members must deploy often and quickly, depending on their circumstances. Remember that they cannot carry a lot of luggage with them wherever they go!
Are pen pals safe?
Military pen pals are generally safe if you go through a reputable charitable organization. They make sure your personal information stays private. You do not ever have to divulge private information with a soldier pen pal! Only do so when you are confident the person is a safe friend and always follow the organization’s guidelines.
You should now have a clear picture of how to make a soldier pen pal. We’ve covered all the essentials in this article, including the following:
- Why You Should Write a Soldier
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Soldier Pen Pal
- Top Soldier Pen Pal Organizations
- Where to Find a Soldier Pen Pal
- Letter Writing Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
And just in case you haven’t grabbed it yet, go check out the free letter writing template in the free resources. Also, please have a look at my recommended letter writing supplies!
If you know of a military pen pal organization not listed in this article, be sure to leave a comment! Let’s participate in this worthy cause and reduce the number of soldiers who feel lonely or suicidal!
When you join in a great cause like this, you definitely get more out of it than you give!
Be sure to spread kindness today wherever you go, and try to write one letter to a new soldier.
Watch what a difference it can make in your life!