PHOENIX - A Valley group dedicated to supporting the members of the U.S. Military and their families will send 500 care packages overseas as a thank you to our troops just in time for the holidays.
Dozens of volunteers gathered Wednesday night for a packing party. Thousands of donated items ranging from candy and canned foods to books and toiletries were sorted and dispersed into hundreds of UPS boxes.
The President of the Military Family Support Group Viana Bruce says it's a small way to let our service members know that someone is thinking about them during the holidays.
"So they know the people back home remember them and are still supporting that they're there," Bruce said.
Many of the volunteers have a direct connection to the people who will be getting the gifts.
Tamarra White has a son who was deployed to Jordan in August. She says getting a care package is something he looks forward to because it's a connection to home.
White says helping box-up supplies is also a way for her cope with having a son who's so far away.
"My son won't be home for Thanksgiving, he's defending our freedom somewhere else so people here understand the feelings you're having, so it's an honor to be here."
For Colleen Czaplicki the packaging party is part of the healing the process after her son Kyle was killed by enemy fire just outside of Baghdad. Every box she puts together is a labor of love.
"Just knowing that we're serving those that are serving us, it's my way of carrying on Kyle's legacy," Czaplicki said.
Military Family Support Group is a non-profit group. Along with the donations that go into the boxes, it could use help with shipping costs which Bruce estimates will be a little over $12 per box.
Donations are accepted under the group's name at Bank of America in Phoenix. You can also donate directly through their website.