For eight years, the Great Bend Military Moms organization has shipped care packages to American service personnel serving overseas, a mission sparked by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in the War on Terror.
In that time, Military Mom volunteers have packaged and shipped 4,000 boxes. Right now, 163 boxes are on their way.
“Wow,” said Leslie Barrett, one of the project organizers, with help of the American Legion Gift Fund. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who make our care package project possible.”
Donations come from clubs, service organizations, businesses and individuals. Each gift helps make the effort possible.
“It is our hope that these boxes, loaded with food, snacks, toys, games, batteries, DVDs, CDs, books, drink mixes, personal care items and lots of love and support from all of us back home, will help them feel loved and appreciated,” she said.
Each box also contains a letter with the names of all who have contributed to the project. The first paragraph reads, “We Appreciate you. We want to thank you for your commitment to the United States of America. There are no words to express our appreciation for the dedication and sacrifices you make every day, to protect the very freedoms we enjoy as American citizens. These gifts were made possible by the following people and organizations from Great Bend and surrounding central Kansas communities.”
Barrett said nine of the boxes recently shipped, are headed for a group of soldiers who are living in tents, in the mountains of Afghanistan where the actual air temperature reaches 20 below zero at night. “Now, think about that, the next time you crawl into your nice warm bed.”
So, along with the regular boxes, the group shipped many extras to them – “things to warm their hearts, as well as their bodies.” They will continue to ship extras to this group, and any others they know are serving without access to a military store or a military base.
“We also ship to any chaplains we get addresses for – so they can distribute items to soldiers who don’t receive anything from home. How sad that must be.”
As families gather for the Christmas and New Year holidays “please take time to think of those who are serving so far away from home and loved ones. Please also remember the families who will have an empty chair at the table, and are praying for the safe return of their loved one, to this wonderful country of ours – until they are all home.”