On Sunday, December 6, more than 200 Westchester residents spent time creating care packages to be sent to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for the holidays. This was the 7th care package drive organized at St. Augustine’s Church in Larchmont, and the largest effort to date. A total of 825 packages were shipped to the troops.
Over 150 volunteers, ranging fin age from to two to senior citizen, helped organize the event, pack the boxes and write letters to the troops. More than $10,000 was raised to cover shipping costs. Funds game from individual donors and from corporations, including: Niteks USA, who donated for the fourth time; Parsons & Whittemore, Inc.; New York Athletic Club; and Baycrest Partners.
In addition, food, toiletries, batteries, crossword puzzles, magazines, books, DVDs, hats, holiday decorations and other donations came from more than 200 residents. An IGA store in Kent, Connecticut donated 85 banana boxes filled with items. In addition, to notes written by many children, boy scouts and volunteers, a special message was included in each care package from New York Yankees player Mariano Rivera, who showed his support of the troops.
The Mount Vernon post office pitched in by coming to the drive and picking up the 825 packages. The boxes were processed and sent out two days later to ensure they make it to the troops in time for Christmas.
The Support Our Troops care package drive was started by Jennie McFarland – a resident of New Rochelle and native of Larchmont – when her husband was serving in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps in 2006. The group has now sent over 3,600 care packages to service men and women. More information on previous efforts as well as many thank you notes from the troops can be found at www.carepackagedrive.com.
In a note thanking the volunteers for their efforts, Ms. McFarland wrote, “You are all so AWESOME, I’m thrilled and even a little stunned that we did so many boxes with such great care items and so many nice notes inside each box. Thank you, thank you, thank you, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your generosity and hard work. You all did a very nice thing for our deserving U.S. Troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
By December 14, Ms. McFarland was already getting responses from grateful service members. “I want to personality THANK all of you for sending the care packages. We got
them in the mail today and they will definitely be put to good use, emailed Gunnery Sergeant Stephen W. Wilson from Al Asad, Iraq. “This is the first deployment for most of the Marines I work with and this month is especially hard on them. However, it makes them feel special to see how many people such as yourselves take their valuable time and spend their
hard earned money to send them snacks and necessary comfort items.”
Maggie O’Hara is Jennie McFarland’s sister.