An eastern Wisconsin county’s care package program sends more than 1,500 boxes to service members stationed around the world every year.
Nancy Hutchinson created the volunteer-run nonprofit Adopt-A-Soldier Door County to give back to service members, the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2tlmGRq) reported.
It all started nine years ago when Hutchinson sent a package to her son’s best friend after he enlisted in the Marines.
“I want to say thank you to them,” Hutchinson said. “Everybody always tells me that this is a really nice thing I’m doing, but it’s about the troops, not me.”
Now the program has multiple drop-off locations for item donations and holds fundraising events. It’s also been sponsored by Hershey’s, Jack Links, Smarties, and Mike and Ike.
The program is currently collecting items to send to soldiers who were affected by the USS Fitzgerald’s collision with a cargo ship in Japan.
Packages included basic toiletries, nonperishable food, and even games and toys. Local students even help fill the boxes, Hutchinson said.
“There’s never a box that goes out that doesn’t have a letter from a student in there,” Hutchinson said. “It’s a simple thing that puts a smile on the troops’ faces.”
Jared Spude is one of the soldiers the program has helped.
“When the helicopter comes and you see a package with your name on it, it’s awesome,” Spude said. “I was actually out of deodorant one day and a package came and there was some in there, and that meant the world to me.”
Many people don’t realize how the packages help raise morale, he said.
“When you receive a package, it’s incredible,” Spude said. “The packages are better than Christmas for a 5-year-old.”
The troops often send pictures and thank you notes to show their gratitude, Hutchinson said.