Thanks to the generosity and assistance of many wonderful citizens and businesses throughout Lodi and surrounding areas, Lodi Support Our Troops has shipped 1,880 care packages to troops in the Middle East.
This is the seventh year, and the number of packages sent has once again increased from the 1,354 sent last year. Even though the economy has suffered tremendously, the results of this troops drive show how truly patriotic this community is.
I'd like to extend a special thank you to the American Legion, Lodi Post No. 22, for kicking off our 2010 campaign with a delicious tri-tip dinner, and for providing us a place to sort, store and pack the donations. They were always there to lend a helping hand whenever needed and were truly a blessing.
Another special thank you to Van Ruiten Winery for hosting a winetasting fundraiser, and Arnaiz Companies who donated their suite for a Stockton Thunder hockey game as a raffle fundraiser.
Thanks also to my right-hand volunteers — Linda Weeks, Dale and LaRonda Templeton, Jody Ives, Julie McKinley, Jackie Camacho, Lisa Coleman, Lazaro and Gloria Reyes and Elisa Moberly. Their help and support were crucial in making this year so successful.
Walmart in Lodi and its employees deserve a big thank you for allowing us to provide their customers an opportunity to donate items for the troops. We couldn't have filled those boxes without Walmart and their very patriotic customers.
For those who have donated time, money and products, you have our heartfelt thanks.
Each year we receive letters from our troops expressing how much they appreciate that we remember them and the hardships they endure on our behalf. We try to send things the troops need, but cannot always get; but to many, it appears the greatest morale booster is the realization that so many people they have never met wish them well and prove it with their donations. We will try to post some of the letters on our website, www.lodisupportourtroops.com.
Anyone interested in joining this worthy cause, please call me at 334-2410.
Again, please accept the heartfelt thanks of Lodi Support Our Troops 2010 Holiday Cheer Box Drive for letting our troops know we appreciate all they do in keeping us safe and that we wish them a speedy and safe return home.