One of the most important aspects of the holidays is being with family, and thanks to Blue Star Mothers, many service men and women who cannot make it home this season will have a present to remind them that there are people out there who care.
Lake Erie New York Chapter 4 of the Blue Star Mothers of America, a nonprofit organization comprised of mothers of service men and women, has completed a Christmas care package program that will serve to benefit nearly 600 deployed military personnel.
According to Susan Rowley, president of the local Blue Star Mothers, the packaging event held on Saturday, which was open to the public, went very well.
Members of Lake Erie New York Chapter 4 of the Blue Star Mothers of America are pictured putting Christmas care packages together for service men and women on Saturday at the Kiantone Fire Hall.
"We had a lot of help from the Kiantone volunteer firemen as well as from the community," Rowley said. " It was so amazing how many people from the community showed up to help."
The group began packaging boxes at 9 a.m., and worked until about 12:30 p.m. By the end of the day, 575 care packages had been completed.
"We had a total of 328 addresses for soldiers, and we were able to send a package to each one of them," Rowley said. "Plus, we were able to send extras to bigger bases so they can share. We were very happy with what we were able to send. But, the Vietnam Veterans also contacted me, and they have funds to fill 20 more boxes, which is on top of the 40 they've already sent."
In order to send the packages, Blue Star Mothers had to raise funds for postage, which totaled nearly $8,700. So far, the organization has raised nearly $7,000.
"This program really makes a difference," Rowley said. "These men and women are away from their families, living in terrible areas and are possibly in danger. They don't have any of the conveniences of home, are missing their families and wishing they were with them for Christmas. But, then they get a box and letters from people thanking them for being there - it makes a difference."
To help offset the cost associated with shipping the packages, the Haskell sisters, Jaclyn and Justine, have decided to have their upcoming musical dance production "A Christmas Carol In Jamestown" serve as a fundraiser for Blue Star Mothers. The show, which is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Southwestern High School auditorium, will feature more than 65 community cast members. For more information, call Jaclyn at 485-6144.
"With the fundraiser the Haskell girls are doing for us, and other donations - I'm sure we will be able to raise the money," Rowley said.