MOMS group packs joy for area soldiers
In the basement of the Faribault County Courthouse, a group of residents gathered Dec. 8 to brighten the holidays of area service men and women.
The MOMS (Mothers and Others of Military Service Personnel) group packed 35 boxes to be sent to 27 area soldiers stationed all around the world. The boxes are filled with homemade goodies, wet wipes and reading material sent with care and love from the heart of Faribault County.
“These kids put their lives on the line everyday protecting our borders,” says Gertrude Johnson as she tapes a box. “We owe them so much.”
Packages take a week to two weeks to get to area service men and women depending upon their location.
One concern for the group this year is the drawdown of troops in Iraq.
“If a soldier is returning home after deployment, they cannot receive mail for a month before they leave,” Johnson says. “With the drawdown soon approaching, we are uncertain if those in Iraq will be able to receive our boxes.”
This is the fifth year that the group has been packing. While the total number of packages sent out by the group has gone down recently – they sent out more than100 boxes in the first two years – they still are eager to help out anyway possible.
“Thinking about our sons and daughters in the service consumes us,” Johnson says, whose son Hans was wounded in Iraq and her daughter has recently joined the ROTC. “We just try to do all that we can.”
The group encourages area soldiers to share their goodies shipped to them with other members of their unit.
Ziploc containers were filled with carmel corn, Snickers and dozens of cookies. Larger plastic containers were filled with personal hygiene items such as razors, shampoos and wet wipes.
A homemade card is sent with the names of group members and a personal message to each one of the soldiers. Blank cards are also shipped to soldiers for them to send back to family and close friends.
It costs the group $12.95 in postage alone to ship one box to an area soldier, but raising funds is usually not an issue.
“Our community is very supportive of our service personnel,” Clara Vereide says. “They have been very generous helping us out with shipping costs.”
This year, the Blue Earth American Legion donated money for the cause in memory of veteran Vern Schewe.
“Vern was an avid supporter of the MOMS organization,” says Johnson. “We would really like to thank the American Legion for doing that.”
Bevcomm also donated money to pay for postage and goodies this year.
The MOMS organization, typically sends out packages to area troops two times a year.
“We usually send packages to the soldiers around the time Girl Scout cookies are delivered,” Vereide says. “What is more American than that?”
Seeing the passion for area service men and women in the basement of the county courthouse, the tradition of sending packages is bound to continue for many years to come.
“If we can add a smile to their holiday, it will be worth it.” Johnson says. “It’s the least we could do.”