'Support each other:' USO adapts mission to aid with coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON — For thousands of troops deployed around the world, the USO has been a constant sign of support.

But now the organization is adapting its mission to deal with the coronavirus.

USO leaders say supporting the troops is still their top priority, and you can help too.

As the world stands mostly still, the U.S. military is on the front lines against the coronavirus—both overseas and at home.

“We have National Guardsmen right now all over the country standing up to do everything from building hospitals to actual medical personnel clinicians,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Il.

And the USO continues to support those troops and their families—albeit in a socially distant way.

“We’ve obviously had to pivot like everyone else,” said USO CEO and President J.D. Crouch. “But what we’ve done is pivot to virtual programming, essentially.”

Crouch says those changes include digital reading and entertainment programs, along with online coffee connections for military spouses.

“Well, this brings them together to be able to support each other, share ideas,” Crouch said.

But Crouch says having so many National Guard units deployed domestically makes their mission even more of a challenge.

“It’s stretching resources and it’s one of those things we have to go where the fight is,” he said.

He said the public can help by donating items for care packages.

“But we need other things like snacks and beverages and toiletries, stuff like that, which are really helpful in supporting our men and women,” Crouch said.

Monetary donations are also welcomed with more information available on the USO website.