America Supports You: 'Packages From Home' Provide Comfort Items to Troops
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2005 Kathleen Lewis of Glendale, Ariz., launched "Packages From Home" in March 2004 with the singular goal of sending as many helpful items as possible to troops stationed overseas.
Volunteers from "Packages from Home" put together care packages to send to U.S. forces overseas. Kathleen Lewis, a soldier's mother, founded the group in March 2004. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
When Lewis learned that her son Christian, a soldier serving abroad, lacked certain creature comforts, she began sending him robust care packages.
She soon learned that her son was sharing the contents of these packages with members of his unit, many of whom never received items from home. She made up her mind that she would adopt Christian's entire squad and send them all packages, she said.
The contents of the packages run the gamut from beef jerky to board games and are intended to provide a little "piece of home," Lewis said.
"Christian was lacking the basics we take for granted, such as laundry detergent, personal-hygiene items, sheets and extra food and drink items. Furthermore, there was no access to obtain any of these items," she said.
Lewis received an overwhelming response as soon as she put out the clarion call to her community for items to fill the packages, she said.
She did, however, run into one unforeseen problem: the exorbitant cost of shipping. Shipping expenses average about $1.25 per pound, so she quickly began accepting monetary donations to cover shipping costs.
Packages From Home is currently having a Memorial Day "Thank You for Your Service" campaign, which they estimate will generate more than 2,000 shoe-box-sized care packages destined for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Memorial Day campaign runs through May 15.
"It's important to show the troops that we have not forgotten them," Lewis said. "These personal goodies express our appreciation to the military for their service and sacrifice, while at the same time lifting their spirits."
To date, Packages From Home has shipped more than 4,000 care packages to servicemembers from every branch of the military, said David Whitten, Packages From Home director of media relations.
"We have the greatest military in the world, not only because they are the best equipped, but also because we have the best men and women," Whitten said. "In order to remain the best, they need the continued support from the citizens of this country."