Last month for our Heroic Acts blog series, we presented you with Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun and their annual Rock & Roll Paint-A-Thon. Turns out, there are even more heroes in our community, giving back to those in need, and we at Presenta Plaque regard it as our mission to bring you the stories of these admirable people.
This month we are recognizing the local Military Family Support Group and their efforts to send care packages to troops positioned in Afghanistan. Contrary to their name, Military Family Support Group is not limited only to family of the military. Their volunteers consist of veterans, military parents, spouses and children, local high school students, scout troops, and anyone just wanting to show support for the troops. They declare “all are welcome,” and they truly mean it. Launched in 2003, the group meets weekly to share their experiences, stories, letters, pictures, and concerns about their loved ones who are, have been or will be deployed. The group supports all branches of the military, they are not politically or religiously affiliated, and they do not use their time together to discuss political views on the war. Rather, their weekly meetings are a chance to support one another in their individual struggles and plan their involvement in charitable community events: blood drives, angel trees at Christmas, making quilts for fallen Arizona soldiers’ next of kin, serving lunches at the Veteran’s home, and more.
On the last Wednesday of each month, however, these meetings have a different purpose; they become packing parties where members gather the donations the group has accumulated throughout the month and assemble the care packages that will be shipped to Afghanistan. Each month, they manage to send over 350 care packages to troops overseas. They collect everything from canned food and toiletries to calling cards and games. The troops provide grateful feedback when there are shortages of particularly needed items that the Military Family Support Group needs to focus on collecting, or when a fellow comrade has no family or is not receiving mail. For those soldiers who have no connections to home, the group becomes their link. They send care packages to these troops as well as personal letters and email.
In order to continue their hard work, the group is continually in need of donations to support their care package assemblies. They encourage businesses, schools and churches not only to get involved in collecting items or giving donations, but to join their group and be personally involved in the packing parties. For a full list of requested donation items or for more information on how to donate or get involved, visit their website.