Christmas Care Packages for Troops

For: Deployed Troops
Organizer: Ms. Tracy
of $1,200 goal.
Raised by 7 donors
90% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

For over eight years, my husband and I have been “adopting” deployed troops. We send cards, letters, and care packages year-round. . Many of the troops we adopt have spent multiple holiday seasons deployed. When Christmas rolls around, we want to make their days a little brighter, knowing they will be spending yet another holiday season in harm’s way, far from home and loved ones.

Our general care packages contain simple items we all take for granted. A snack box may have trail mix, cookies, Crystal Light (or similar drink mix), nuts, granola bars, candy, sugarless gum, snack cakes, coffee & related products, freezer pops if our Warrior has access to a freezer, tuna pouches, microwavable meals, Ramen noodles…the list goes on and on. A hygiene box may contain shower products, shaving gear, socks, underwear, soft toilet paper, baby wipes, sewing kits, foot care items, powder, feminine hygiene for our female troops…again, the list goes on and on.

At this time of year, with Christmas looming just around the corner, we turn our thoughts to items like cards they can send home to their loved ones, treats, stockings to hang, strings of colored lights, trees to decorate (small, tabletop trees),ornaments to go with the trees, and gift items of all kinds. If it makes us think “Christmas” when we see it, it’s fair game for a care package. We start collecting “stuff” early because it takes time to plan, sort items, pack boxes, and get the customs forms filled out. The packages need to go in the mail before Thanksgiving in order to make sure they arrive in plenty of time for our troops to get the most good out of the Christmas items. It is not a “cheap” project, and we need all the help we can muster to make it a success. This is where you come in.

We currently have troops from Ft. Campbell KY, Ft. Hood TX, Ft. Carson CO, Ft. Stewart GA and Ft. Riley KS we send general care packages, cards, and letters to. These are the soldiers we will be sending Christmas packages to, as well. If we can get donations of items to go into the boxes, and donations to help with postage, we hope to be able to put together at least 35 boxes so each Soldier gets their own. Using the large flat-rate priority boxes, the cost of postage is $14.85 per box. On our own, we will be able to put together and send 5 boxes, which is one per group of Soldiers. Just think how much nicer it will be if each Soldier gets their own box as opposed to having to share one box among anywhere from five to eight people.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on November 9, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
13 days left before the fundraiser closes - I have everything I always buy for the care packages purchased and ready for packing. However, I have had very few donations of items to help fill the boxes out. For the past 8 years, I have managed to have enough "stuff" donated that it was difficult to walk in the Soldier Room for all the boxes and bags. All the local papers ran my article including a list of things needed, along with my phone numbers and my work address where items can be dropped off. I put flyers out at the Board Office and Jack took flyers to work and handed them out. I have plenty of candy for the stockings, thanks to my friend Gayle, and a handful of small fun items that can be included as gifts, thanks to my friend (and boss) Judy. I have plenty of word puzzle & Suduko books. No gloves. No sock hats/beanies. No Hot Hands handwarmers. No Little Debbie-type snack cakes in Holiday themes. No hand-held electronic games. No batteries. I have $119 and change left in the Troop Account besides the money I've set aside for the postage for 36 boxes - I'll probably buy handwarmers and as many gloves as I can with what I have left to work with. Meanwhile, I can only say I am disappointed in our community. I expected a little more particpation in such a worthwhile cause. Especially with our proximity to Ft. Campbell, and knowing how many troops from Ft.Campbell are currently deployed and how many are preparing to deploy soon. I'm still plugging along, and come Hell or high water I WILL get 36 Christmas packages sent out. It could be the last year for this project, though.

Posted on November 4, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
Time keeps slipping into the future...the clock is ticking down on this project. Today's mail brought 3 phone cards and a $20 donation from Ron & Ashley in Hawaii. Since Ron has "been there, done that" at least five times (and every time, we sent him care packages), he knows what will be a hit with our Warriors. I really appreciate the Warriors and Veterans who have helped with this project. I guess since they've been in the same boots our deployed warriors are in, spending holidays away from their families, missing out on so many special moments that the rest of us take for granted, they understand the importance of what I'm trying to do. Your average citizen just doesn't "get it." Sad, but true...

Posted on October 30, 2013 by Ms. Tracy

Suggestions for Christmas Care Package Items:

Gloves - black

Sock hats – neutral colors

“Hot Hands” hand warmers

Hand-held electronic games (and batteries)

Brain-teaser puzzles

Travel sized games (Yahtzee, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, etc.)

Candy canes

Stockings, Santa Hats, Reindeer Antlers

Stocking stuffer items (use your imagination)

Stationery/writing materials

Disposable cameras

DVD movies (no War films…keep it light!)

Strings of Christmas lights

Ornaments (unbreakable, please…)

Assorted Holiday Decorations

Traditional Christmas candies

Little Debbie Snack cakes, Holiday themed if possible

Hot cocoa mix and Marshmallows to put in cocoa

Nerf balls

Novelty toys (Dollar Tree, Big Lots are good sources)

Travel mugs with lids

Basically, anything that makes you think “Christmas” when you see it will be well-received by our “kids in the sandbox.” The vast majority of our troops are between 18 and 25; if you have a son, daughter or other relative, or you know someone in that age range, try to think of the “silly” things they still enjoy. I will guarantee the young men and women over there enjoy the same kinds of “silly” things; anything that can help relieve stress is welcome.

Items may be dropped off at the Educational Annex building, 104 Elizabeth Street, Room 9, Ashland City (The old Primary School building).  If you have any questions, please call Ms Tracy at (615)557-2972 or  (615)746-1406

Posted on October 17, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
Received a $50 donation today from Julie & Richard Fudge. Julie also shared the link to my page on facebook and asked her friends to consider helping with the project. I really appreciate my friends being willing to help out! I got a $30 check from Lanelle Craig when she came by the office to drop off a big tote bag full of travel-size Scope mouthwash, and added that to the $12 check my friends Doyle & Sue Pritchard sent to make a $42 deposit to the troop account this afternoon. The Pritchards have set up a monthly automatic payment of $12 - every bit helps!

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
My friend Gayle Carlaw brought a bag of items for the Christmas project, and some hunting & fishing magazines to include in care packages, to my office this afternoon. Right after she left, my phone rang and it was someone wanting to know if I still needed stuff for care packages. She listed off some items she has; it's all more general items than Christmas-y stuff, but it's all stuff I can use. She said her son had been deployed four times before he left the service, and she knows how much the care packages mean to our troops. She said she will be bringing things to me sometime before Thanksgiving week, which is the deadline I set for donations. That allows time to get boxes to our guys and gals before the holidays hit.

Posted on October 8, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
46 days left to meet the goal for the Christmas Care Package project. There has been one donation on the fundraiser page, three donations in person, for a total of $750 toward the goal of $1200. If we don't meet the goal, that will just mean fewer packages going to our troops. I'll do what I can with what I have to work with, regardless. God's got this.

Posted on September 23, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
I received a check in today's mail from a couple in Pleasant View, $100 to help with the Christmas project for our troops. I also got an e-mail from a visitor to this page who is going to help with items for packages. She said she has Santa hats, travel mugs, tabletop Christmas trees, holiday decorations and other things that she will bring to the office this week. She also said she would like to help sort items and pack boxes when it's time. I think that's awesome! Big thanks to the Hesters and to Ms. Carlaw - we couldn't do this without y'all!

Posted on September 19, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
I got a $100 check in the mail today from Ms. Betty Cannon to help with postage for the Christmas project. Another lady called this morning and asked for my address so she could send a check, as well. We're getting closer to goal...

Posted on September 18, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
Since my last update, our friends Jim and Bonnie Roach, who are currently in Afghanistan, have ordered 36 fleece throws for the Christmas Care Packages - after donating $500 to help with the postage. Our youngest son Shawn and his lady Debra just donated $125 to the cause as well. All three newspapers in Cheatham County have run the story - the I-24 Exchange ran it as a letter to the editor without the list of items requested; the South Cheatham Advocate ran it as an article, and the Ashland City Times ran it today as a guest column, both complete with the list of requested items. I have had one phone call as a result of someone reading the letter to the editor and wanting to know how to help. The lady said she would send a check to help with postage; I will update when/if I receive it. I sent the article to the Joelton Shopper, as well, but nobody has acknowledged receipt of it and they only publish every two weeks, so I won't know if they published it or not until the next issue comes out on the 25th. I've put it out there; now all I can do is wait and see what happens. Hoping and praying for the best...

Posted on September 13, 2013 by Ms. Tracy
I got the first official donation for the Christmas Care Package Project today, but since it was handed to me in person, it will not show on the total on the fundraiser page. Judy Bell gave $50 to help provide a little happier holiday season for our deployed Warriors. Thank you, Judy! Your generosity is very much appreciated!

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