Step Up for Soldiers sends packages to Afghanistan, Mediterranean

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A volunteer fills a box for the latest Step up for Soldiers package drive. Photo by Aimee Bowen.
A volunteer fills a box for the latest Step Up for Soldiers package drive. Photo by Aimee Bowen.

The Step Up for Soldiers Packages from Home holiday drive, co-sponsored by Local Voice Wilmington, has just ended, and boxes of snacks, toiletries and other everyday items are on their way to troops overseas.

On Jan. 19, 11 volunteers spent their morning at the National Guard Armory on Carolina Beach Road packing boxes full of donated items. According to Tom Russell, the founder of the non-profit Step Up For Soldiers, popular items in this edition of the bi-annual drive included socks and hand warmers, essentials for troops spending time outdoors in the winter. Other donated items included mouthwash, sunblock, wet wipes, notebooks, decks of playing cards and hard candy.

After last week’s packing party, 32 boxes were shipped overseas to a U.S. Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea and to U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan. Earlier in the month, 15 packages were shipped over, and Russell said the group is expecting to pack 10 to 15 more boxes after a collection drive currently going on at Carolina Beach Elementary School. Each care package is typically shared by several military members.

Donated items were dropped off at the Local Voice Wilmington office and at the Wilmington Family YMCA Express Y throughout the month of December and the first half of January.

Volunteers and the packages they put together following the 2015 holiday drive.
Volunteers and the packages they put together following the 2015 holiday drive. Photo courtesy of Aimee Bowen.

“We just want to thank everyone for their help in getting these packages together and getting these things to our troops,” said Russell. “We appreciate everything.”

Local Voice Wilmington (formerly known as Sea-Comm Media) is the parent company of Port City Daily, along with radio stations 98.3 The Penguin and 93.7/106.3 The Dude. The company has partnered with Step Up for Soldiers since 2006 to collect items for men and women serving our country overseas. Over 4,000 troops have received items from locals through the 20 collection drives that have been held so far.

The next drive will take place during the summer around Independence Day. More information on the Step Up for Soldiers organization and how you can help throughout the year can be found on their website.

 

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