Friday, April 20, 2007

Packages From Home

Packages from Home began as a mother's labor of love for her son, a soldier with the Army's 1st Infantry Division. Kathleen Lewis's son Christian was deployed to Iraq in March 2004. She began sending care packages to her son on a regular basis. She received a phone call from Christian and was thanked for all the comfort items from home, but she also found out that her son was the only soldier in his squad receiving any packages from home. Kathleen and some friends decided to adopt his squad, and began shipping packages to the men in his unit. This is the point where "Packages from Home" was born.

Kathleen, along with her friends and neighbors, began having "packing parties" in her garage every month or so, sending requested and needed items to her son's squad. As we all know, volunteerism for a good cause is contagious. As the small group of volunteers kept sending packages, more and more people began to get involved. In October 2004, the small organization received a call from a local a.m. radio talk show host. Bruce Jacobs from KFYI Radio invited Kathleen to be on his morning talk show to talk about her cause. After the appearance on his show, her phone lines lit up. Some people wanted to donate money, others wanted to donate items to support the troops, and others volunteered their time to help.

The grassroots effort began to grow in leaps and bounds from November 2004. By then we realized that the amount of donated goods, and the money coming in to ship the items, would require us to request charitable status with the IRS. Packages From Home is now a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

We are an all-volunteer group, with NO paid Officers and NO paid staff except for a nominal amount paid to a part-time bookkeeper. Our sole purpose is to provide food, personal care, seasonal comfort items and recreation items to deployed American troops, at no cost to the troops. With the one exception of the bookkeeper/CPA, none of us are paid, no one receives compensation of any sort.

Since March 2005 we have averaged shipping 1,000 to 1,500 packages a month to our heroes; our goal is to ship many more. We collect donated items from local patriotic citizens... non-perishable food and snacks, personal toiletries, and recreational items like games, books, music CDs and movie DVDs. After inspection to be sure all donated items meet the Military's stringent standards, the items are packed by our staff and volunteers into U.S. Post Office Flat-Rate Priority Mail boxes. No alcohol, tobacco, pressurized, or x-rated materials will be sent by us. The boxes are sealed by a Packages From Home director and mailed to U.S. servicemen and servicewomen who are deployed overseas in harm's way.

Packages from Home is one of the organizations listed and recognized by the Department of Defense to send care packages in support of our troops. We have been featured on many Military related websites, such as The Military Report and America Supports You.

Packages from home

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