Care package drive for the troops this weekend

Since August 2005 more than 4,000 boxes have been sent to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, all with the same return address: Southborough, MA.

The boxes, care packages containing granola bars, beef jerky, playing cards, and other “touches and tastes” of home, weighed in at over at 75,000 pounds total, and were collected over the course of eight separate drives. “The people of Southborough and surrounding towns have truly given from their heart to show their support of our brave men and women serving,” organizer Lisa Braccio said.

Braccio hopes to add to the total this weekend.

The latest drive, in honor of Major Dan Kolenda, a Southborough resident serving in Iraq, kicks off on Saturday at 9:00 am. Home base is the Senior Center where donations will be collected, sorted, and packed up over the course of the weekend. They’ll get mailed out on Monday.

There are a number of ways you can help.

Donate items
Braccio said they’re looking for personal care items, food items, and fun stuff like DVDs, books, and game system games. The DVDs, books, and games don’t have to be new — gently used is fine. Note that they can’t accept hardcover books because they’re too heavy.

See the event flier for a complete list of requested items. Donations can be dropped off at the Senior Center (see hours below).

Write letters
Toothpaste, microwave popcorn, and DVDs are all well and good, but Braccio says what the troops treasure most are the letters from home. “Cards and letters are the most important thing that we send. The Southborough and Marlborough schools (K-6) are writing cards and letters to be inserted in all boxes, and adults are more than welcome to do the same and drop them off.”

Volunteer your time
Organizers will need plenty of help on Saturday and Sunday to sort and pack boxes. “When a volunteer boxes, they actually get to read the soldier’s words for the unit they are sending a box to. That way they can connect with the soldier and fill any special requests they might have,” Braccio said.

To volunteer contact Lisa Braccio at 508-481-9939.

Event details
You can drop off donations at the Senior Center from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, or 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday. While you’re there be sure to flip through the book of thank you letters from the troops.

On Sunday, there will be a machine to make dog tags for the kids.

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