(KTEN) —The Army and Air Force Exchange Service started the initiative to open up the ability to send things to troops to anyone. It used to be only available for people who were authorized.

"Now with this initiative anyone including civilians can honor our service members around the world by purchasing an exchange gift card for a hero of their choice," said Senior Enlisted Officer for the Exchange Service, Chief Kevin Osby.

Since December they say they've sent out around 63,000 dollars worth of gift cards allowing troops to purchase things from their store.

"Seeing a familiar brand or your favorite snack," said Chief Osby. "Or a Snicker bar something that you can really tie back to home is a huge comfort when you're serving overseas."

The real reason to send the gift cards is it's an easy way to help show someone they matter. And it is something some local veterans remember.

"It reminds you of home," said local veteran Bill Ecker. "And when you're away from people and away from family and stuff like that that's basically it."

"Red Cross sent things over when I was in Vietnam," said local veteran Charles Whitacker. "Packages from home meant a lot, and a lot of people didn't get a lot of that stuff."

And the process of buying the cards is as simple as any online purchases. You can buy anywhere from $10 to $500 gift cards for any hero of your choice year-round.

"To know that somebody's thinking about you when you're away from home," said Whitacker. "It means a lot."

You can start sending cards out using Exchange's website.