SW Washington County residents interested in helping troops deployed overseas are invited to a care package packing party on September 30 at the King City Civic Center clubhouse (15235 116th Ave). The goal is to prepare 300 care packages.
This giant packing party will run from 11 am to 4 pm. Specialized mailing boxes from the Post Office and all the supplies will be provided. There will also be a room at the Center with materials for writing letters and cards to the troops.
This event is titled “Mission Mahalo”, which means “thank you”. The mission is simple, sending the gift of home.
Those packing for family and friends will be able to take their care boxes directly to the Post Office which charges $12.95 postage. These military personnel will be added to future mailings. Donations received will also be used for postage.
Jennifer Fair of King City started this effort about a year ago, after reading a news story that troops in remote areas were going without basic necessities such as toothpaste, soap, and other toiletries. These are not supplied by the military and are difficult to obtain in forward operating areas.
Jennifer utilizes her “couponing skills” to acquire needed items. A typical care box can contain up to $125 of supplies – which Jennifer obtains for 2% to 5% of cost through coupons and savvy shopping.
Initially, many boxes went to military members listed on the website Anysoldier.com.
This website has mailing addresses and input from soldiers, Marines, Air Force, and Navy members who list their specific needs and also those of others serving with them.
The first box went on August 10, 2011, to an Army soldier deployed in a remote area in Afghanistan.
Jennifer was soon joined by friend Renee Atkins and the two formed their organization “Operation Christmas Glory”. They decided on that name after receiving a thank you note that said their care package was like Christmas.
They have mailed over 270 care packages to Kuwait and Bahrain and hostile areas in Iraq and Afghanistan. The estimated value of the toiletries, food, and morale builder items is over $25,000.
Operation Christmas Glory has been incorporated as an Oregon non-profit organization and is applying for federal 501(c)3 status so donations can be tax-deductible.
Jennifer and Renee are seeking drop box locations in our community for coupons and supplies. Each drop box will list the most needed supplies: toiletries, food snacks, and morale-boosting items. The most requested hygiene item is new socks; followed by baby wipes. Another is beanie babies to give to kids in those countries.
They are also seeking packing locations and groups to assist. They have a major push to get care items to the troops in time for Christmas.
Updates providing drop box and packing party locations and also Operation Christmas Glory activity will be included in future columns.