A taste of home for those in harm's way

While the focus of the Valley Free Press is local, I recognize that we live in a bigger world. We are affected by what goes on elsewhere in the world. And if we’re lucky, we can have an effect on the bigger world.

One doesn’t need to have the resources of Donald Trump to help their fellow man. It’s as simple as dropping a few dollars in that red Salvation Army kettle or donating to the Franklin Mall Project to feed our neighbors.

I’ll share something I did recently, not to pat myself on the back, but to illustrate how easy it is to help someone else. And it can be fun at the same time.

I spent a Saturday recently working with Operation Support Our Troops America. I chose that organization primarily because of my son serving in Afghanistan. Like so many other men and women serving our country, he won’t be home for the holidays. He celebrated his 21st birthday in Afghanistan and he’ll celebrate his 23rd there in a few days.

We send Andrew care packages as frequently as we can, plus he receives them from friends and a local church or two.

I’m sure most who receive care packages from home share them with their buddies, other members of their units; I know Andrew does.

But I also know there are many who don’t receive those boxes packed with love.

So, after learning a little about the organization, I drove to its warehouse in Lisle for a brief orientation and a couple of hours sorting candy, opening packages and chatting with some of the other volunteers. Run entirely by volunteers, the organization sends out 250 packages every week.

What they do is amazing. The sad part is that donations are very low. Many people believe our troops are coming home. While troop numbers overseas may be reduced, volunteer organizer Annette said she added 750 new names to the list of service people to whom they send packages.

Anyone reading this who might be interested in collecting items for care packages or looking to donate cash is invited to visit the organization’s website, There you will find a list of items needed – food, toiletries, reading material, etc. – and how to donate.

It’s just one more way to reach out and help our fellow man – and woman.

With Thanksgiving upon us, I want to remind anyone who submits news that we will have an early deadline for the Nov. 27 issue. It will be at 5 p.m. Monday rather than Tuesday.

Remember to tell your friends to like us on Facebook. And enjoy this week’s Valley Free Press.

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