Thursday, April 3, 2014

Care Package Project

I had the opportunity a few years ago to participate in a military care package project.
My knit group met at a coffee shop each week and the owner decided to put a box of goodies together for a military friend.  We knitted helmet liners and brought other goodies to add to the box.
It felt good to contribute and it was a lot of fun.  An opportunity arose this year to do it again and I jumped at the opportunity.  This time, it was my daughter and I organizing the project.  I'm not one to ask people for things.  So, this pushed my comfort zone a bit.  But, I wanted it to be a success.
So, I dove in 100%!

It all started when my daughter made some military friends and one of them was deployed.
We had an address to get the stuff to him and his company and that's all we needed to spark the idea.
As soon as they arrived at their deployment destination, I jumped on Facebook, created a group page, invited tons of people, and within hours we had people on board and wanting to join in.
I was blown away by how excited people were about participating.

We took over a month to gather goodies.  We had hoped to fill at least five boxes with stuff but our ultimate goal was 10.  I was trying to hold off until the end to add stuff from me.  I figured I could fill in with things we might not get.  It was hard though and I kept finding myself picking up stuff almost every time I was at the store....or, at least, looking for more ideas.  It was a lot of fun.  Donations kept coming in from people all around Southern California.  Even Walgreens donated.  It was awesome!

Imagine how thrilled and shocked we were when we ended up with 15 boxes full of goodies!
There were Girl Scout cookies, sunflower seeds, candy, chips, crackers, drink mixes, gum, personal hygiene products, letter writing supplies and lots more.  It added up to 126 pounds of goodies.

My daughter and I couldn't just send it all off in boring brown boxes.  We wanted to make them a little more exciting when they were opened.  So, we used colorful cardstock and cut pieces to
cover all of the flaps.  Then, we decorated them with encouraging words and glued them in place.

Two elementary school classes from different schools made cards for the guys.
We included some in each box.  They were all special but here are a few of our favorites...

This young man obviously looks up to these soldiers...

I liked this one because of the camping.
Check out the little red tent and there's even a campfire...

This one made us laugh with "get ready to party" and the disco ball...

We also included some cards signed by everyone who participated.
And, we wrote inspirational and fun quotes on some colorful cards to include too.

We used flat rate boxes because they seemed to be the most economical way to ship it all.
I packed each box like a puzzle, trying to fit as much stuff in each box as I could and with as little space left over as possible to prevent things from moving around inside and getting damaged.

That's a LOT of boxes!

Packed, sealed, was time to ship them off! 
We needed a post office cart to carry them in!

I prayed a lot throughout the whole project...that these guys would not only enjoy the goodies we were sending but that it would warm their hearts, let them know they're being thought of and prayed for, give them a little bit of "home" while they're far away, and show our thanks for
the hard work, dedication and sacrifice they give to our country. 

We will never know how each person felt about receiving all these care packages.
But, I feel good about doing this for them, paying it forward, and hoping that spirit will continue on.

This was a project unlike any other my daughter and I had ever done.  I cherish the time we spent working on it.  And, I'm so grateful to each and ever person who participated.  It would not have been the success it was without each one of them, every item that was donated, and each dollar that was given to help with the shipping.  All of us together made a great team!  The project went beyond our expectations.  And, my experiences in seeing how excited people were to join in and how giving so many people were was heart warming and inspiring to me.

People are wonderful!  And, it's caring people that make life wonderful!


Cindie said...

How wonderful

mamasmercantile said...

That is amazing and I am sure greatly appreciated.

Delighted Hands said...

Having my son deployed overseas was the hardest thing-care packages like this works wonders for the soldiers! Yay!

lynn cockrell said...

What a wonderful way to recognize our men and women in arms!

Michelle said...

What a wonderful thing to do. Just think how much happiness they created!

Sandra said...

Great job! I know you've brought smiles to those who are deployed.

Vicki Boster said...

What a wonderful way to show support for our troops-- you girls really packed some great boxes. I just know they will be so appreciated-- just seeing this post is so heart warming:)


Unknown said...

Hooray for you! Talk about stretching your comfort zone to good effect! I can imagine how happy the guys and gals must be to get these tokens of appreciation from strangers.

Unknown said...

That is so great! Hurray to you both for doing this!