When Chris B and his son joined a friend in a neighboring community for a Soldiers' Angels care package drive a few years ago, it left a big impression. He and his family regular gave to charities, but he was motivated to get involved on a hands-on level. Now Chris and his family are leading care package drives of their own!
Under the co-leadership of Chris and his 16-year-old daughter Kaylee (his son led the effort last year), three Catholic youth/teen groups at their church and a 5th grade class gathered, packed and shipped 101 care packages for wounded and ill troops who are treated in-country rather than evacuated to Germany. That added up to about 1,000 pounds of goodies, including about 225 pounds of Halloween candy.
"This year, the best thing that we did was tell the kids who participated that they could take a box home and ship it themselves," Chris says. "It was great to see the kids see it all the way through." Taking a care package home also ensured parents knew about the importance of the project and it boosted their enthusiasm. Chris says many parents responded that after seeing the full project they would've been even more supportive had they understood earlier.
The team reached out to their entire community, canvassing the neighborhood and reaching out to parents and their coworkers as well as their fellow students. For the second year in a row, Chris' neighbor got the 5th grade class at her school (Monroe School, Hinsdale) involved in bringing care package items and writing letters to include in each package. An email also went out at Chris' work, asking people to bring their extra Halloween candy, and many other local companies and organizations helped out.
While focus was on the importance of the project, there was still room for fun. "The kids loved the project," Chris says. The packing party included pizza and a visit from Angel Roger Godskesen, who brought Soldiers' Angels wristbands and spoke about the importance of the project to deployed troops. "It was a very meaningful project from start to finish," Chris says, pointing out the important life lesson of hard work done for others. "We can write checks to charity all we want, but it doesn't teach the kids anything."
Congratulations to Chris and Kaylee for an awesome and enjoyable effort in their community that ultimately means the world to the heroes who will benefit from their work!