Drive Underway to Collect Pre-Paid Phone Cards and Deflated Soccer Balls to Send to Troops

Philadelphia, May 20, 2010 — State Senator Larry Farnese; Tracy Carter Dougherty, Board Chair for the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey; Dave Debusschere, Chief Financial Officer for Philadelphia Union; David Halstead, owner of the Philadelphia Independence; Dave Dougherty, Vice-President for AT&T and Marian Moran, Chapter President of the Blue Star Mothers today announced “Operation Touch of Home,” a drive to collect phone cards and deflated soccer balls to send to our troops serving around the world.

“As we approach Memorial Day, it is especially important to make sure that our troops know that we are thinking of them and to let them know how much we appreciate their service to our country,” said Senator Farnese. “We are asking people to show their support for our soldiers by donating a pre-paid phone card in any amount, a deflated soccer ball or both.”

Philadelphia Union will kick off the drive by donating 100 soccer balls. AT&T is donating 50 pre-paid phone cards, each worth $20.00.

“Philadelphia Union are pleased to be able to contribute to this worthwhile effort in providing support for our troops. We hope this helps bring a smile and a piece of home to them,” said Dave Debusschere, Chief Financial Officer for Philadelphia Union.

“The Philadelphia Independence, like all in our Philly communities, are indebted to the servicemen and women who bravely serve our country and put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom. Working with the USO and Senator Larry Farnese in “Operation Touch of Home’ is a perfect opportunity for our organization to give back to our troops through the sport we love. We are honored to be a part of this initiative and pleased to have the chance to show our appreciation for the troops,” said Independence owner and military veteran David Halstead.

“Sometimes a soccer ball is the difference between sheer boredom and sheer terror,” said Marian Moran, Chapter President of the Blue Star Mothers. Marian’s son, Lt. Kevin A. Moran is currently an aviator serving in the U.S. Navy.

Pre-paid phone cards are always needed and especially appreciated because it is so important that our soldiers are able to maintain regular connections with family and friends. Soccer balls are great ice-breakers for our soldiers in making friends with children in other countries.

We are asking for deflated soccer balls for ease of shipping.

The USO is not a government agency. It is a non-profit, charitable organization and relies on donations from private citizens and corporations. It serves as the link between the American people and military personnel. Through the USO, Americans can show their appreciation and express their gratitude.

“Liberty USO’s mission is to provide care and support for our troops,” said Joe Brooks, President and Chief Operating Officer for the USO of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “By leading this morale-boosting initiative Senator Farnese has shown that his commitment is real and profound.”

While the USO has diversified and changed over time, the mission remains unchanged: to bring a ‘touch of home’ to our men and women in uniform, until every one comes home.

“I am proud to join the USO, Philadelphia Union, AT&T and our Blue Star Mothers in such a meaningful partnership for our troops,” said Senator Farnese. “And I know how much it means to the troops to know that they have our support.”

Today’s news conference was held at The Union League, 140 South Broad St. The Union League was founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the Union and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln. The Union League has hosted U.S. presidents, heads of state, industrialists, entertainers and visiting dignitaries from around the globe. It has also given loyal support to the American military in each conflict since the Civil War, and continues to be driven by its founding motto, “Love of Country Leads.”

Senator Farnese’s Philadelphia and Harrisburg offices will serve as drop-off sites between now and July 4, 2010. Please drop off or mail pre-paid phone cards and/or soccer balls to:

District Office
1802 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145
215-952-3121 | Fax: 215-952-3155
Harrisburg Office
543 Main Capitol | Box 203001
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3001
717-787-5662 | Fax: 717-787-4531

For more information about our partners, please visit these websites:

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