Local Family, Volunteers Collecting Items for Military Care Packages
Donation hopes to send letters, baked goods, and many items needed by troops to men and women serving in Afghanistan.
A local military family is giving back this holiday season and encouraging other to do the same by helping with “Operation Cookie Drop” - a drive for soldiers overseas who won't be home for the holidays.
Kelly Curran said donations are needed now more than ever for the drive.
The Curran Family has three children serving in the military, including a daughter who graduated from West Point who is currently in the Army Special Forces in Afghanistan.
“This event is very important to us,” said Kelly. “I think it is important to get the word out that items are desperately needed this year.”
Originating 10 years ago as donations of homemade cookies sent to troops overseas, the effort of the drive has expanded to include many everyday items needed by military men and women. These boxes will be shipped to marines stationed in Afghanistan.
“It initially started with cookies, which is how it got its name,” said Curran, who has volunteered for three years. “Now it has kind of evolved into, not just cookies, but just lots and lots of other items.”
Donations are being accepted at the home of Curran, at 24 Natalie Road, Chelmsford, anytime before this evening. She has set up a box in front of her garage for donations. Volunteers can also donate goods or time directly on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. at the SpringHill Suites Marriot in Devens.
Curran also suggested that teachers or parents with young children ask their kids to draw pictures or write notes to the soldiers for inclusion in the packages.
“I think that’s really special too. I know (the troops) love to get cards from children,” she said.
The effort is accepting various donations, from food goods such as coffee, Ramen-type noddles, and crackers, to personal care items, batteries, underwear, and “fun stuff” such as books, decks of cards, and DVDs.
Last year the effort shipped between 200 to 250 boxes across the Atlantic. The postal cost to ship the boxes is around $11; another good way to help out is to write a check to the United States Postal Service to help with postage costs.
Brian Latina is a volunteer who has helped out the drop after being “hooked” while donating items in previous years. He describes the volunteer effort as a “great cause.”
“Go fill a box, and with it thank a young American soldier stationed in Afghanistan who won't be home for the holidays,” he said.
Curran’s husband, a coach of the Lowell Catholic hockey team, volunteers along with his players every year. The 25 hockey players travel to Devens to sort items and box them up for shipment.
For Curran, donating to the troops is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.
“When they open these boxes any time of the year it’s like Christmas because it’s just so nice to know that people are thinking of them,” said Curran. “I think that really is in keeping with the spirit of the holidays, in giving and thinking of others, especially our service men and women who give so much and they sacrifice so much for all of us.”