Although many deployed South Carolina servicemen and women will spend the holidays overseas away from home, one group is hoping to make their time a little happier.
The Blue Star Mothers of the Midlands shipped 55 care packages last month that should be delivered in time for Christmas.
“We get names and addresses from different mothers,” chapter president Kaye Smith said. “Different people find out about us and they will send us their childrens’ names and where they are overseas and their addresses so we try to send them out.”
The Blue Star Mothers send care packages throughout the year, gathering supplies and money in donation drives. This most recent shipment was paid for with a $3,000 grant from Dominion Energy.
Smith said every donation helps. It costs $18 to $20 to ship every box overseas.
“It can get expensive depending on what you’re buying and the mailing of the packages gets pricey,” she said.
She said the Blue Star Mothers have shipped as many as 150 care packages at once. The packages include snacks such as beef jerky, hard candy, popcorn, cereal, protein bars, granola bars, tuna, canned chicken or powdered drink mixes. They also contain personal care items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, washcloths, deodorant, shampoo, soap and baby wipes. Sometimes the recipients also request toys, games and Christmas decorations. Smith said the most important item in the box comes from the community.
“We have a lot of Scout troops, church groups and children’s’ groups that write cards,” Smith said. “They draw pictures. They write notes that they give us and we’ll put them in the boxes.”
The Holiday Troop Supply Drive is the third care package and shipping event of the year. Since 2001, the Midlands Chapter of Blue Star Mothers has sent more than 15,000 care packages to deployed service members.
“My favorite part of the Holiday Troop Supply Drive is the first message we receive from a deployed service member after they’ve received a box,” Roxy Sherman said. “It’s often a quick email and sometimes it’s a letter with photos, always thanking us for the package and for thinking of them. To me, that ‘thank you’ is the best Christmas present ever.”
To donate or for more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail a donation to Blue Star Mothers, Midlands Chapter, P.O. Box 2364, Lexington, SC 29071.
Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. also support families of the fallen. Membership is open to all mothers (birth, step, adoptive, foster, grand or legal guardian) of a service member who is either currently serving or has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States.