The Holiday Cheer Box Drive group has just packed and shipped 1,245 care packages for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This year marks the sixth year of this program and the largest number of packages sent to-date.
Thanks to the Lodi American Legion for kicking off our 2009 campaign with a scrumptious tri-tip dinner that provided funding for well over half of our shipping. A special "thank you" to Re/Max Gold Lodi for providing space to sort and store the donations, and to SFC Thomas Lane at the Lodi Armory for providing a place for our packing party. Also, thanks to my right-hand volunteers Jackie Camecho, Dale and LaRonda Templeton, Linda Weeks, Lisa Coleman, Patti Newton and Elisa Moberly, with her computer wizardry. Without their dedicated help and support, this year would not have been as successful.
Wal-Mart in Lodi and their employees deserve a big "thank you" for allowing us to provide their customers with an opportunity to donate items for the troops. We could not have filled all those boxes without Wal-Mart and their very patriotic customers. For all those who have donated time, money and products to ship, you have our heartfelt thanks.
Each year, we have received letters from the troops who express how much they appreciate that we remember them and the hardships they endure on our behalf. We try to send things they 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 Web site http://www.lodisupportourtroops.com">www.lodisupportourtroops.com, which we encourage everyone to visit. Anyone interested in volunteering next year, call me at 470-2410.
As we unwind from 2009's packaging, we look forward to the day when the combat is finished, the troops are home, and we can retire. Until that day, we remain dedicated to reminding our troops that those of us who cannot assist them in their lonely and dangerous duty will do what we can to remind them that their efforts are appreciated.
Holiday Cheer Box Drive