Sunday, November 29, 2009

SUPPORTING THE TROOPS


Many of you know that in conjunction with my good friend Lori Foster, I have been supporting the troops for about five years. This summer I mailed a total of nine boxes and tomorrow the above nine boxes will be mailed. I won't know the exact weight of the boxes until I go to the post office tomorrow, but so far I have shipped over 900 pounds of supplies and Lori has sent several shipments of her own. I just heard on the news last night that December 4 is the cutoff for mailing packages in time for delivery to Iraq and Afghanistan. If you're so inclined, please consider stopping by anysoldier.com and select a serviceman or woman to send a holiday package to. Be prepared to spend some time there though, because the site is highly addictive! Below is a portion of an earlier blog post of mine about our troop efforts (I'm hopeful it might inspire some of you to send a package of your own!). I would also note that the cookbook referred to is still available for purchase and yep, the proceeds that are still trickling in continue to benefit our troop project:
Have you ever been away from home and all alone for a holiday or a special event in your life? Maybe you’re not truly alone, just not with your friends or loved ones. I remember the week of my 15th birthday, I was at a Methodist church camp, and while there were a hundred or so other girls there, I felt so very alone on my birthday. We were putting on a big choral program that evening and I wanted desperately for my parents to be there. I phoned my mom, two hours away, and asked wasn’t there some way that she and my dad could come up to visit that evening so I could see them on my birthday? She said she was very sorry, but no, she just didn’t think they could come. I’m certain that I made everyone else miserable, wallowing around and feeling sorry for myself all day. My parents came, of course; they had intended to surprise me all along. This meant that by the time they arrived back home that night, my dad had very little sleep before getting up for work the next day. I will never forget that surprise and how much it meant to me – running and jumping into my dad’s arms and crying all over my mother while she bobbled a birthday cake for me and the girls in my cottage. I was only two hours away from home in a beautiful little town on Lake Erie, being well cared for and safe in this little gated camp community, yet I remember the lonely desperation I felt.
Remembering that desolation, however piddly it may seem, is just one of the reasons I enjoy working with Lori Foster to bring a little joy to some of the men and women serving our wonderful country. I know that my “misery” comes nowhere close to theirs and I wouldn’t insult them by comparing our situations. I know that I’ve never experienced loneliness and fear to the degree that they have and in some cases absolute terror, not only being away from home, but being in constant danger, maybe seeing friends and comrades wounded or even killed right next to you. I think of my family, safe and sound here at home, and how we owe our every freedom and privilege to the military men and women who have served our country for several decades. These men and women “belong” to someone – they are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and they are away from their friends and loved ones for long stretches of time that include some of the most important holidays to us as Americans. Just think of all that they miss - births and deaths, first steps, that first visit by the tooth fairy, school sports and programs, birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. They can’t jump in the car to visit someone, or make a late-night run for a candy bar or their favorite fast food, or make a scraped knee feel better with a kiss and a cartoon character bandage – all of the little things we take for granted. They deserve to know that someone at home, even a total stranger, loves and cares for them and wants them to feel appreciated. They deserve “surprises” from home too, goodies and snacks to sweeten their day, lotions to soothe desert and sun-ravaged skin, or a pretty candle to soften harsh surroundings.

What can you do to help? Lori Foster started to talk with a handful of us early last spring about a cookbook. The plan was for a small booklet, the kind that is folded and stapled, with recipe contributions from authors and readers. This cookbook, when all was said and done, ended up being professionally (and beautifully) published by Samhain Publishing, titled THE WRITE INGREDIENTS, and it is positively gorgeous! The ongoing troop project benefits from the proceeds of each and every cookbook sold. This cookbook makes an excellent gift for friends and is perfect for stocking stuffers, or hostess gifts for your holiday parties! There’s still time to get yours! Please click yourself over to Amazon and get a copy for yourself and all of your friends!! And be sure to tell them who benefits from your purchase – you should be proud to be helping such a worthwhile cause.
Laurie

4 comments:

flchen1 said...

You're my hero, Laurie! Thank you for all that you do, and thanks for educating us about what we can do to help, too!

Lori Foster said...

Laurie, you never fail to bring tears to my eyes. I am so honored to know you and to count you as a friend.
Thank you so much for continuing on with the wonderful project.

Truly, you are a beautiful person with an enormous heart.

Giant hugs,

Lori

Karin said...

Thanks for the reminder about the deadline, Laurie. I'm working on a few boxes that I just need to finish up and send off by Friday.

April said...

You are just amazing, Laurie!! Thank you for all of this effort!