By Lisa Byers
A little over a year ago, Project Support Our Troops co-organizer Kim Lengling was disheartened.
In May of 2012, for the first time in 13 years, Project Support Our Troops was forced to cancel its monthly box-packing event due to lack of supplies.
“There were a couple months where we were struggling,” Lengling said. “We’re not struggling right now.”
But that doesn’t mean Project Support Our Troops isn’t in need. Despite several troops making their way home from Afghanistan over the last year, Project Support Our Troops’ goal of sending at least 100 boxes of goodies a month has not wavered.
And though the organization has supplies to send right now, it is unknown just how long the current supply will last.
“It has slowed down a little,” Lengling said of recent donations. “We are in need of all donations. We prefer to have a packing and then have some stuff left over.
“We’re not struggling now and hopefully we never will be.”
The community can get involved on Tuesday. The organization’s monthly packing event is at Veterans of Vietnam War Post on Dunham Road in Vernon Township beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Those willing to lend a hand in packing boxes or anyone with donations are encouraged to attend.
Lengling said there is no need for personal hygiene products at this time. She said something new that the troops are particularly fond of is MiO, a 1.62-fluid-ounce water enhancer that makes 18 servings.
“We’ve had a couple requests for those,” Lengling said. “They are not that expensive. They’re small and you get about 18 drinks.”
Lengling said the troops continue to enjoy lunch-sized trail mix, tuna and cracker packs, beef jerky and small pop-top canned fruits.
“Things that give protein and energy,” Lengling said.
Lengling advises against donating items that can melt like chocolate due to increasing temperatures that Lengling said can reach more than 120 degrees in some places.
“Snack items. The fun stuff,” Lengling said. “The stuff that gives them a taste of home that they have zero access to there. Anything to give them a smile and make their day. Even if it’s a smile only for a second, we’ve done our job.”
Additionally, Lengling said Project Support Our Troops is taking names of troops who would like to receive a box.
“We’re always looking for new names,” she said.
Lengling said a couple larger groups deployed recently.
“They don’t necessarily have to be from Meadville,” she said. “If you have a cousin from Oklahoma, let us know. We consider them all local if they represent our country.”
Anyone with names can contact Lengling through Facebook or by calling her at 724-9099.
For those unable to donate items, Project Support Our Troops also accepts cash donations to help with postage and the purchase of needed items.
Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can help
The next packing session for Project Support Our Troops is Tuesday starting at 5:30 p.m. at Veterans of the Vietnam War Post 52, 13240 Dunham Road, Meadville.