As another holiday goes by, I can't help but think of the men and women serving in the military. For families with active military, holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and Easter are spent usually in two different parts of the world. I know first-hand what it's like because my brother-in-law missed several holidays with us while serving two tours in Iraq. We missed him and thought about him all the time.
I think that is one reason, my 10 year old daughter, Graci wanted to do something for our soldiers serving overseas. In January what started out as a school project called Operation: Military Matters with one of her friends became a personal mission. The girls started collecting items for the military like shampoo, conditioner, playing cards, socks and anything else people wanted to donate. They were able to get the Mayor of Seminole, Leslie Waters behind their project. She allowed them to have a collection box at City Hall and helped promote their project.
So far Operation: Military Matters has been very successful. I am amazed at the community support and the passion I see in my daughter for our soldiers.
To get the word out about the project, Graci asked if I would help her set up a Facebook page to post updates and a Go Fund Me account to collect money. The power of social media is truly remarkable!
She has collected more than $250 on the Go Fund Me account, plus she has received other monetary donations from family and friends who saw her posts. They have collected lots of items from the community in the collection boxes. One local dentist donated hundreds of tooth brushes, another person crocheted beautiful hats. People have donated bags of toiletry items. Students from Graci's school Seminole Elementary made beautiful cards and children from other schools like Woodlawn Community Academy made cards.
I am overwhelmed to see the support. What's really been neat is to get reaction from the soldiers who receive these items. Since those receiving the packages are some of our friend's family members we are fortunate to hear from them through email. One of the troops who received the packages said they loved the crocheted hats. We were able to tell the lady who made the hats how much they were appreciated and she is making more. She says it takes her about two days to make each hat. Incredible how much people care!
Graci also received an email from a soldier who received one of the packages. Here's a part of the letter.
I received your very thoughtful care packages. Me and my guys were excited to see the much needed items (esp. the shampoo - I haven't had shampoo out here in quite a while). You really helped us out and made life in Afghanistan a little bit better. Thank you for your kinds notes, thoughts, prayers, and actions. You are great Americans and I am proud to be over here serving when there are people like you back home. I wish you all the best (enjoy the break from school during the up-coming holidays). Again, thanks.
Graci thought that was so neat to get a letter. When she read the part about the shampoo she decided she would buy a lot of shampoo to make sure our soldiers have shampoo.
This mission has not only blessed our soldiers, but the people who are contributing. It has also been a blessing to our family to be able to help Graci with this project.
As you go about your week, pause for a moment and think of our military and their families and the sacrifices they are making for us to be free.
If you want to contribute items to Operation: Military Matters you can visit the collection box at Seminole City Hall. To find out other ways to be a part of this community project you can log onto www.Facebook.com/OperationMilitaryMatters or to donate money go to www.gofundme.com/militarymatters.