Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Save the date!

It's hard to believe how much time has passed since our last care packaging event in May....and even harder to believe that we're already preparing for our next one on Saturday, November 8th!  You've heard the drill many times before--we need YOUR help in order to make this another successful event.  There's a variety of ways that you can become involved.  First, help us by simply telling others about our care packaging event.  Hang up event posters in your area.  Share the event on Facebook.  Talk to your coworkers, neighbors and the cashier at the grocery store.  Second, when talking to these fine folks, ask if they know any soldiers stationed overseas.  We're having extreme difficulty lately gathering names and addressed of deployed soldiers.  Due to confidentiality limitations, we can't turn to Veterans' Agents for this information.  Instead, we rely on family and friends to refer a soldier.  (Hint: That's where you come in!)  Third, we can always use supplies to fill the care packages and monetary donations to help with the cost of postage.  
And finally, we always have a need for volunteers on the actual day of our care packaging event.   Above is a photo from our last care packaging event in May with some of our dedicated volunteers.  We can honestly say that it wouldn't be possible without them.  Let us know if you'd like to be one of them on Saturday, November 8th!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Six degrees of separation...?

Have you heard the theory about six degrees of separation?  It's basically a concept that "everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world".  So where are we going with this?  To make a long story short, we've recently had great difficulty gathering names of soldiers overseas to send care packages.  We must rely on family and friends of these soldiers to provide us with the addresses.  Yet as the number of deployed soldiers has slowly decreased, so has the number of address referrals OTOH receives.  While it's comforting to know that this means countless soldiers are now home with their loved ones, we know that there are still many more stationed overseas.  In order to show our continued support for these brave men and women, we need your help!

Ask your friends, neighbors and coworkers to see if they know of a soldier stationed overseas that would appreciate a care package.  The point is that you never know who you might be connected to in the world.  One small act of passing this information along to others could help to show a soldier overseas that he or she is not forgotten.  And that, my friend, is priceless.

Care packages at a prior event preparing to be sent to soldiers overseas.
*Please note that our next care packaging event is on Saturday, May 10th and we need addresses by Saturday, May 3rd in order to prepare custom forms, paperwork, etc. beforehand.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A "touch of home" in each care package!

Earlier this month we prepared 30 care packages for soldiers overseas!  Volunteers helped to fill each care package with plenty of goodies including snacks, magazines and toiletries.  Each package also included creative works of art made by students at Swift River School in New Salem, MA.

Artwork and letters for the soldiers.
Placements crafted by students.

The school has been involved with OTOH since we began our efforts in 2007.  Many times, soldiers tell us how much these seemingly simple additions to the care packages mean to them.  It's things like this that help us to show soldiers that they are not forgotten.  A little "touch of home" truly can go a long way!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another event is underway!

It seems like only yesterday that we were collecting supplies and gathering soldiers' addresses for our care packaging event in April.  And here we are again preparing for our next event on Saturday, November 2nd!  As with every event, there are countless details to be addressed beforehand.  From hanging up event posters to purchasing supplies to collecting soldiers' addresses, each task is important to ensure we have a successful event.  One vital piece of our preparations include fundraising.  OTOH operates entirely on donations received from local businesses and community members.  Our biggest expense always remains the same--the cost of shipping the care packages.  For our last event in April, it cost more than $700 to send the care packages.  Each package costs $14.85 to ship and we anticipate that we will send roughly 50 packages in November.  In order to ensure that OTOH is able to continue our efforts, help is needed!  If you are interested in donating to our cause, you may send a check made payable to Operation Touch of Home at 93 Royalston Road, Orange, MA 01364.


As you can imagine, there are many more ways to become involved!  If you're interested in helping us either before or at the event, please contact us at operationtouchofhome@gmail.com to share your ideas.  We look forward to hearing from you!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Makes A Care Package Even Sweeter??

...Girl Scout Cookies!!

We will be partnering with the Turners Falls Brownie Troop #12943 to send Girl Scout Cookies in our next shipment of care packages on Saturday, April 20th.  Troop Leader, Heather Poirier, recently contacted OTOH in hopes of adding some extra sweetness to our care packages.  Heather has sent care packages to a loved one previously stationed overseas.  She knows how much these packages mean to our troops.  We hope to include at least one box of Girl Scout Cookies in each package for this next event.

If you are interested in donating a box of cookies, please contact Heather at: fourpoiriers@msn.com

The Brownie Troop will also be helping to prepare the care packages and will be bringing letters and drawings to be included.  We are very excited about this new collaboration and look forward to hearing from you!  Mark your calendars and be on the look-out for more information about our next event!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

We did it again!

On Sunday, November 3rd, more than thirty volunteers joined OTOH for the 11th event to send some joy to the soldiers stationed overseas during the upcoming holiday season.  Volunteers included military family members and those from Diemand Farm, North Orange Grange, Mahar Key Club and Veterans Education Project.  The volunteers helped to prepare more than fifty care packages which included items such as drawings and letters from students at Swift River School, crackers, Easy Mac, cookies, magazines and toiletries.


Soldiers have already written thanking OTOH for the unexpected kindness.  One Sargent wrote, "A little taste and reminder of home from these care packages are what truly makes a deployment worthwhile.  Knowing that people at home who are taking time out of their busy schedule just to not only think of us over here but act on it speaks volumes."  A First Lieutenant wrote, "Being deployed in support of a war that many have forgotten about is difficult sometimes.  To be the recipients of such an overwhelming random act of kindness is incredible.  The soldiers here face challenges on a daily basis that no person should have to experience in their entire lives.  Constant reminders that the American people are still behind the soldiers are what keeps these guys going."


Our next event to prepare care packages will be held in April 2013.  However, if you know of a soldier who is stationed overseas and would appreciate a care package, please contact OTOH.  Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers!!  We could not do this without you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We need YOUR help!

We are gearing up for our eleventh care packaging event on Saturday, November 3rd.  To make this another successful event, we need YOUR help!  As always, we need volunteers on the day of the event to help us pack the boxes, complete the custom forms and write letters.  However, there are many other ways you can help!

1)  Do you know of a soldier stationed overseas who would appreciate a care package?  If so, download the "Soldier Referral Form" from the link above and return it to us by Saturday, October 20th.  Your soldier will then be sent a package with a "touch of home"!

2)  Donate supplies to go into the care packages!  Download the "Suggested Supply Donations" list from the above link to see what items we need.  Supply donations can be dropped off at Adams Animal Hospital in Athol or Diemand Farm in Wendell until Saturday, October 20th.

3)  Make a monetary donation to help us purchase needed supplies and pay for the cost of shipping.  We spend close to $1,000 for each event!  This includes purchasing supplies for the care packages as well as shipping the packages.  Donations can be mailed to: Operation Touch of Home, 93 Royalston Road, Orange, MA 01364.

If you'd like to help at the event, please contact us by Saturday, October 20th to receive more details.  As always, we greatly appreciate the support we receive from you and others in our community.  We could not do this without you!