DEAR ABBY: Whatever your political views, a crisis like the war in the gulf makes us all feel so helpless and depressed. Not knowing what else to do, I tied a yellow ribbon on the antenna of my car to show respect for the troops. I still felt lousy. I found myself straddling political lines, hating the war but feeling proud of our servicepeople just the same.

I came to the conclusion that although there is little I can do to stop the war, I can try to do whatever I can to help our country live up to its reputation as a generous, compassionate people.So, in honor of the servicepeople in the gulf, I would like to offer the following suggestions in the hope that all of us, working together, can make the country to which they will return a little more worthy of the sacrifices they are willing to make for us.

Peace begins with me - and all of us. - CONNIE ENGLUND, SEATTLE

DEAR CONNIE: Your suggestions for positive action on the home front could indeed make for a better America - and in the hope that they will provide inspiration to those at home who would like to do something for the troops, here they are:

1. Give a pint of blood.

2. Send a check to the local food bank.

3. Tell your parents you love them.

4. Take a batch of freshly baked cookies to your neighbor. (If you don't know your neighbor, introduce yourself.)

5. Volunteer to be a Big Brother or Big Sister.

6. Offer to drive an elderly or infirm person to an appointment.

7. If you are not registered to vote, register!

8. Call a lonely person and say, "I love you."

9. Open a door for the person behind you.

10. Smile at people you pass on the street.

11. Say "Thank you" to the bank teller, the grocery checker and the telephone operator.

12. Forgive the next rude driver who cuts you off and resist the temptation to "get even."

13. Try not to be the rude driver.

14. Voice your objection to prejudice and bigotry in any form.

15. Volunteer to teach someone to read.

16. Read a book on a religion other than your own and try to understand it.

17. Plant something - then watch it grow.

18. Resist the impulse to litter.

19. Write a letter to an old friend and say, "I'm thinking about you."

20. Donate unwanted items to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or the local center for the disabled.

21. Volunteer some time to patients with AIDS who could really use some help and a hug.

22. Teach a child to write thank-you notes.

23. Laugh whenever possible; cry when you feel like crying.

24. Pray for peace and the safe return of our servicemembers in the Persian Gulf.

DEAR ABBY: Your reply to the person who wrote to ask what to tell a child whose mother is going off to war was right on the button! (You said, "Give the child the same answer you'd give if `Daddy' was going off to war.") Good for you!

When my husband joined our local unit of the National Guard, we knew what it entailed. Sure, we enjoy the extra money every month, but when the Guards are activated, he'll go where he's ordered to go for whatever reason. (Snow duty, flood duty, Honduras - four times already - or perhaps the Persian Gulf.)

We family members are made of sterner stuff so those in the military know that we support them 100 percent! - A WEST VIRGINIA WOMAN WITH A NATIONAL GUARD HUSBAND, A NAVY SON-IN-LAW AND AN AIR FORCE NEPHEW

Abby's family recipes are included in her cookbooklet! Send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)