Socks, baby wipes and hard candy are simple gifts that make a difference in the lives of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two years ago, mothers of West Point graduates organized Operation Support our Troops. Their mission? To send goods and letters to boost morale, and supplement basic needs with a touch, taste and smell from home.
Emily Curtis, a member of St. Peter Lutheran Church, Edon, Ohio, is one of the mothers. With the help of family, friends and parishioners, she has sent more than 20,000 pounds of items worth $370,000--including 30,000 pairs of socks and 75 small Christmas trees. Her basement and garage are full of candy, lotions, foot powder, beef jerky, bug spray and gum. Family and friends spend evenings loading 30-pound boxes for shipment.
Her mission has spread to elementary students, who write letters and send tapes of their concerts.
They receive gifts in return--letters and e-mails provide a glimpse of life overseas: "The Christmas tree was just the right size and since it was fiber-optic, it really tied the room together. We are in a remote area of Afghanistan and live in an adobe hut. We received a few other decorations and with your Christmas tree, we really have the place looking like home."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers