Bringing Joy to Troops Overseas
“I am typing from inside a cave, as it helps to stay underground while not on patrol to avoid the 120-plus degree heat of the Afghan summer. Some of the people are very friendly, others questionable, and some very “unfriendly” (that would be the Taliban). It means a lot to us all to get anything from home while we’re out here. Your box had so much to offer, and had the guys all cheering as I handed out each item.” –Staff Sargent Joshua Levine, U.S. Marine Corps
That’s just one of the many thank yous for our Cares campaign to support American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The idea started in 2008 with a group of employees who organized a sale of boxes filled with goods for our soldiers. Since then, the program has evolved to be the premiere annual campaign to support Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey and the former Yellow Ribbon Club of Marlton. This non-profit organization sends care packages overseas and organizes welcome home programs for the troops. With our employees’ commitment and our customers’ enthusiastic support, the program has grown 500 percent since inception, donating $95,000 to this non-profit since 2008.
I was the happy recipient of one of your care boxes. It was a pleasant surprise and of course the excitement of going through it is reminiscent of Xmas! The products are all useful to us and we share everything, though the rule is since it’s addressed to me I get first ‘dibs’ on
The jerky is absolutely to die for … not only is it really good, soft, and flavorful but our chow halls will not allow us to take out extra food or drinks so having food available to us to snack throughout the day or when we miss a meal or work late is so appreciated.
It’s amazing after all this time so many have not forgotten us and the selfless dedication to us is heartwarming….I wish I could express to you how some of our warfighters live and what they go without, what they endure…. you will never get the real story from the news.
I am an airdrop tech so I coordinate airdrops of supplies to any of our units that either cannot get resupplied by other means or the roads to them have become too dangerous with IEDs. I’ve included pictures of one of our COPs … I spent a lot of time there with them over the months. It was a small group of CAV guys about 30 imbedded in with Afghani Police and Army that manthe ridges. I can send you these pictures because our guys have moved out of there.
They taught me how to play cornhole and got a camel spider out of my room once I sat with them while they were on duty or chow hall and we talked about whatever they wanted to talk about …. their RnR, their wives, children they hope to have, their dog kept at their parent’s house, most were so young. When I asked them if there was anything I could get them they asked for popcorn…so I would go around to the Chaplains offices where donated boxes (just like the ones you send) on occasion yielded popcorn…I’d gather it and we would include it on their fuel or water drops.
You’ll never meet a closer or more content group of soldiers. I loved going out there. Their showers were rationed to one a week in the summer’s heat because one of their two wells had tested for e-coli. When I stayed I used bottled water to shower when the sun went down and only the millions of stars watching me…I would leave the water out in the sun all day so at night it was so dark and warm out that with my warmed water bottles and nightly ritual that I really thought life couldn’t get any better. I was as happy and content as the soldiers I was there to help.
I want you to think of young soldiers like these……as you will never hear of them in the news, or that only two weeks ago the Afghani police killed four of them days before they were to leave.
So thank you…..thank you from all of us
CW2 Michelle Charge
45th SB Airdrop System Tech/OIC
Greetings from the Marines of Afghanistan,
I would first like to thank you for all the packages that you have sent us out here. The items that you have sent have made our stay here in Afghanistan more bearable and remind us of the little things at home that we miss. This is especially true for myself and another Marine in my unit, as we are both from the Philadelphia area. The Tastykakes and the Snyder’s pretzels reminded us of all the things we are missing at home. As we eat them it always brings up stories from our childhood and what are favorite Tastykakes are.
You have brought many a smile to our faces with all the items that you have provided us. It has made life a little easier as the health care products have kept us clean and able to accomplish our jobs. This also helped many of us, as not everyone here gets care packages from their families. Your care packages have stocked our morale shelf more than once, and again I would like to thank you for that and all you have done for us out here.
There have been many things that we have received from you that allow us the ability to keep on marching forward and looking towards that light at the end of the tunnel. I have listed two Marines below that I think would really appreciate receiving items from you and your great volunteer group. They both will use your products as I have and distribute them to the other Marines in the units. I would again like to thank you for all that you have done for me and the Marines in Afghanistan. Semper Fi.
MSgt Michael Conley
II MEF (FWD) C-1
Folks, as an old dog (this is my third year-long tour), I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of generosity by folks and organizations like you!
We are making progress here day by day and your efforts help boost morale!
Lieutenant Colonel DZ Zink
Executive Officer for Police Command
NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan