Packages from Home, a collection drive to send U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan care packages, is underway.
Hometown Wilmington Media has teamed up with Step Up for Soldiers, a local nonprofit organization, and WWAY News Channel 3 for the 15th Packages from Home collection drive.
Previous collection drives have provided more than 4,000 soldiers with care packages from home, according to Aimee Bowen, program director of Port City Radio, which is part of Hometown Wilmington Media.
The goal of Packages from Home is to provide troops with some comforts of home while serving in Afghanistan, Bowen said. There are two collection drives each year—one during the holidays and another to coincide with the Fourth of July. In January, 112 packages were shipped to troops, Bowen said.
Items will be collected through July 31.
“We get letters back all the time, thanking us. It’s just amazing. And we get pictures of them sharing the food,” Tom Russell, founder of Step Up for Soldiers, said.
In an email from Rick Pak, he wrote, “My name is Rick Pak and I am the chaplain for the 1-14 CAV here in Afghanistan. I just wanted to write you an email to thank you and Step Up for Soldiers for all the packages. I now that our troopers will be blessed by them.
“The candy bars and toiletries will go a long way in supporting our soldiers. Thank you again for the support and God bless.”
Items requested most for the summer drive include socks and underwear, wet wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss and beef jerky.
“A lot of these guys, especially the Marines, they’re out on a cliff in the middle of nowhere, or they’re protecting a town. They need things that are easy to eat, easy to carry, easy to clean. They should live as good as we do if they’re fighting for us,” Russell said.
Monetary donations payable to Step Up for Soldiers are accepted to help offset the shipping cost of the care packages. Each package costs $13 to ship, Russell said.
Donated items can be dropped off at Hometown Wilmington Media, 122 Cinema Drive, or WWAY-TV3 at 615 N. Front St.
The packing and shipping will completed July 31 at the National Guard Armory off North Kerr Avenue. The community is invited to participate in packaging the items into boxes to ship, Russell said. If a church group or other organization collects packages, Russell will pick up the items. He can be reached at (910) 297-4981.
To learn more about Step Up for Soldiers and their ongoing efforts to help troops and veterans, click here.