Facebook, you’re the Grinch who stole my soldiers’ Christmas

Facebook, you’re the Grinch who stole my soldiers’ Christmas

December 6, 2010

Dear Facebook,

Congratulations! You have just been nominated and unanimously voted the winner of the2010 GRINCH AWARD.  With the click of a button, you have all but shut down our tiny nonprofit organization which supports our deployed troops.

First, I’d like for you to imagine 3000 deployed troops, halfway across the globe, putting their lives on the line for all of us, who will not be home for Christmas.  They won’t be celebrating the holiday with family.  There will be no tree.  There will be no feast, and now there will likely be no gifts to open.

For the soldier who has family, he knows that his loved ones will be gathered together on December 25th, but he knows that it just won’t be the same without him. He knows that his family will try to go on and celebrate the day as they do each year, but they will simply be going through the motions because they won’t be able to shake the reality that he is alone and in harm’s way on this holiday.

Deployed Troops

This soldier will have a package to open.  No one forgets their soldier on this holiday.  But, FACEBOOK, what about the soldiers who do not have families?  Did you know that many of our deployed troops will receive nothing this Christmas?  Did you know, MR. GRINCH, that many of these brave souls, willing to stand in the gap for YOUR freedom have no support from home?


Package Assembly  The Military Missions, Inc. family takes care of these heroes.  We send packages every month, but we go all out for Christmas!  We are a very small nonprofit but we do some really big things.  Everyone in our ‘family’ is a volunteer who willingly gives countless hours, especially in November and December, to SEND CHRISTMAS to our deployed troops.  We do everything we can to keep our expenses at a minimum so that we can use every dime donated to pay for the postage to get our care packages into the hands of our troops.  That’s one reason we have allowed you, FACEBOOK, to end up with the power to pull our plug and violate our freedom of speech.


We receive requests every day from deployed troops who give us the names of men and women in their units who receive NO MAIL during entire deployments.  We adopt these heroes and we take care of them.  Did I mention that we receive requests from the family members who just can’t afford to send a box to their deployed loved one?  We receive countless requests from young wives who can barely make ends meet to keep food on the table for their children.  These heroes on the homefront simply can’t afford to buy items to send to their soldier.  They can’t afford the high cost of postage either.  Often, the only box some soldiers will receive while deployed is the box that comes from us at Military Missions, Inc.


www.opsend.org When it comes to number of boxes sent out, we can’t compete with the big nonprofits who send out thousands upon thousands of packages, but I can promise that our boxes are the most personal care packages sent out by any organization.  We receive personal cards, letters, and donations from caring people all over the USA who just want to say thank you to our troops.   Because many can’t give monetarily, they give by recruiting people in their circles of influence to make cards and write letters which are sent to us to be included in our packages.  These donations are invaluable, because after all, the most important part of the package is the sentiment and gratitude poured out in these messages.  Long after the snacks are eaten and the socks are worn, the messages are read time and time again by our troops who need encouragement from home.  Have you ever considered what it must be like to be living in harm’s way for an entire year, or longer, with nothing from home?

We don’t have corporate sponsors.  I’m just the mother of a combat wounded Marine who started sending packages overseas.  I don’t run in corporate circles and the only reason I find myself running a nonprofit is because I saw a need and I decided to make sure it was met. The average donation to our organization is $25-$50.  We don’t advertise.  We simply can’t afford to do it.  We have a websites, www.military-missions.org, but we have found that one of the most effective ways to recruit people to our website is to hang out on social networks such as yours, FACEBOOK, where we can get the word out and use our donation dollars for the troops, not corporate America.

www.opsend.orgWe certainly don’t have 100,000 followers on our business page, www.facebook.com/MilitaryMissionsInc, but those who do follow are very involved.  They look for our photos received from the troops, they wait to see who will be our “Hero of the Day”, and they follow our posts for donation requests because they want the troops to know they care.

We have deployed troops following our page who look to see who sent cards for the packages, what kind of video we have created, or when we are sending out our next shipment of boxes.  We give them a glimpse of home….or at least we did until you pulled the plug on our page, FACEBOOK.

Why is it that WE the PEOPLE, have given you, FACEBOOK, such an incredible amount of power, when you provide virtually NO customer service?  There is no way to make a phone call to you FACEBOOK  Your Help Center is nothing more than a lot of questions with answers that lead nowhere.  If there is any opportunity to submit information, it is greeted with an automatic reply, which is never answered, and likely never read.  After ten days of submitting information, I’d like a response.  I don’t have time to contact you every single day.  I’m trying to get 3000 care packages shipped before Christmas and now I have to reinvent the wheel to get the word out.

To make this situation even more infuriating FACEBOOK, you shut us down and we were not even aware of it for the first few days.  WHY?  Because my son was in the hospital!  I wasn’t out there in your little corner of the world spamming people.  I was sitting in a hospital taking care of one of our nation’s wounded warriors.  There is something very, very wrong with this picture, FACEBOOK!

Social networking is the way to go.  We all buy into it.  It’s free.  We set up our accounts and we connect them all together to broaden our network and save time sending out important information.  Military Missions, Inc. happens to have you, FACEBOOK, as the center of our networking universe.  Everything is connected through YOU, or it was until you shut us down due to actions taken by a third party who was tagging our organization to multiple posts.  Our website links to you, FACEBOOK, to get the word out about events. We host all of our photos on your website, and we have just printed THREE THOUSAND Christmas letters which we are sending overseas to our troops.  Every single letter directs our troops to our Facebook page…..which no longer exists because you pulled the plug without doing your homework!  We can’t afford to reprint the letter, nor do we have time to undo our boxes and make this correction.

I have repeatedly read that you, FACEBOOK, investigate BEFORE you take away publishing rights.  I don’t think the investigation for the removal of our page,www.facebook.com/MilitaryMissionsInc was thorough.  If it had been, you would have realized that we never spam anyone….NEVER EVER!  You may have also noted that the individual posting and tagging our organization is not a site administrator.  You might also want to look into a history of our posts.  You won’t find a history of us posting on other organization’s walls.  That’s just tacky!

I read complaints on the Facebook blog just yesterday, from parents who want pornography removed from their children’s Facebook pages. Their requests are ignored, and yet, someone makes a complaint about a small nonprofit run by the little people and you shut them down with no research, no notification, and absolutely no way for us to solve the problem. Who has the power to get your attention anyway?  Is it one of the BIG nonprofits?

I have also had to send messages to individuals TODAY, who are posting their spam on our FACEBOOK CAUSES page.  I really didn’t think they meant any harm so I simply asked them nicely to stop posting on our page.  This is how I always handle it.   If they do it again, then I might report them, but everyone has always honored my request in the past.

FACEBOOKI think there is something really wrong with this picture. Perhaps we should all move to another social network that actually cares about the people who use it. 

Maybe you just grew up too fast, FACEBOOK, and you simply don’t have enough experience and life lessons to realize you can’t handle this enormous phenomenon you have created.  I’d like to think you DO care about all of us who are putting bread on your table simply because we use your social network.  I’d like to think that you DO care about the troops who are defending your freedom, even though they may not get a package because you have shut down our main avenue of communication at the busiest time of our year.

I’d like to think you DO care FACEBOOK, but until you stop spending all of your time creating new ways for us to view our user profiles and start developing some customer service options which allow us to speak to a human being and get our problems solved you are going to continue to be known in my little world as THE GRINCH WHO STOLE MY SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS!  Here’s to hoping you don’t win again in 2011.



Beth Pennington

Founder, Military Missions Inc.

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