Boxes filled with snacks, puzzles and handmade blankets will soon be on their way to servicemen and women who are serving overseas.
Members of American Legion Auxiliary, Wolf River Unit 391, of Fremont, donated the items for “Boots on the Ground.”
“For years, the Auxiliary helped monetarily with the project. But, this year, they made it one of their huge Christmas projects,” said Anna Paul, the unit’s president.
It was about 12 years ago that Carmela Brazil and her mother, Jean Streich, began collecting items on their own and sending them to the troops.
Both Brazil and Streich are members of the local Auxiliary unit.
Brazil explained why the project is important to her.
“My grandfather was a veteran. With working at the (Wisconsin) Veterans Home (at King), I get involved with everything,” she said.
When the Auxiliary decided to make it a Christmas project for the entire unit this year, members were given examples of items to donate for the packages.
The ideas included hot cocoa, tea, apple cider and cappuccino mixes; beef jerkey; instant soup and oatmeal; hand warmers; granola bars; small packs of nuts or raisins; canned soup; trail mix; cheese and crackers; foil tuna pouches; Christmas music CDs; small, unbreakable Christmas ornaments; neck coolers; and black, green or while cotton crew socks.
At the Auxiliary’s Dec. 5 Christmas party, members of the unit placed the items under their Christmas tree.
Paul said the entire community came through, with area businesses and churches also donating items for the troops.
“Servicemen and women from throughout Wisconsin will receive the packages,” Brazil said.
“Their normal tour is for one year,” Paul said.
Well over 25 boxes will be sent, and the packages will also include puzzles, pens, books and handmade scarves and hats.
Brazil was surprised to see the amount of items donated.
“This is three times as much as we usually send over. We don’t usually have this much food,” Brazil said. “The troops are worth it.”
Her sons, 12-year-old Duane and 14-year-old Taylor, will help her carry all the packages into the post office for mailing.
Paul said the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support the American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of veterans and their families – both at home and abroad.
In addition to donating items for those serving overseas, the unit purchased gifts for the homeless veterans at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.
“This is our mission. We need to tell everybody that if they wonder what we do, this is what we do,” Paul said. “It’s all about them, not about us, and we want them to know they are not forgotten.”