Group organizing troop care packages for holidays

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Corissa Breeden of Clovis brushes up on her social networking skills during a break Wednesday at the Hastings coffee shop. Breeden’s suggestion on Facebook to gather items for deployed troops has turned in Operation Home Front Cares, which will put together care packages for military members and military working dogs overseas.

Robin Fornoff

Corissa Breeden was thinking about the holidays and servicewomen and men such as her husband, Carlton, who is deployed, serving their country and away from home for Christmas.

Wouldn’t it be nice, Breeden wondered in a recent Facebook posting, if someone in eastern new Mexico started collecting small but necessary things for the troops, gifts from home that arrived in time for Christmas.

It didn’t even take a day. One response. Then another. And soon, a chorus of support via Facebook, including Michele Robertson offering the store she manages in Portales as a drop-off point for donations.

Thus, the birth of Operation Home Front Cares. This grassroots effort to remember the troops appears to pick up speed each day, fueled by social networking.

PetSense has stepped up, volunteering to put together packages of items for men, women and service dogs. Matt 25 has agreed to serve as a drop-off point for donations in Clovis.

“I know that there are men and women who are going to be over there during the holidays and that can’t be any fun,” said Breeden. “Even a little something from home would help.”

Breeden and Robertson are quick to point out their campaign isn’t affiliated with or sanctioned by Cannon Air Force Base, although they said base personnel have also offered to help on their own time.

“This is a way that we can help show our armed forces members deployed overseas that we care,” said Robertson, who manages Hestands Floral and Gifts.

The goal, said Robertson, is to send as many care packages as possible. Suggested items include playing cards and games, stationery, pens, trail mix, prepacked snacks such a Little Debbie cakes, jerky, popcorn, magazines, water flavoring packets, sewing kits, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, batteries, phone cards and puzzles.

Little things mean a lot, said Robertson, and some of the items are expensive in the desert locations where many of the troops are serving.

“Flushable wet wipes … sometimes a wet wipe is the only shower the guys and girls get for days or weeks on end,” said Robertson.

The deadline for submitting items is Nov. 21. Robertson said they will then package the items.

“Any monetary donations will be used to pay the costs of shipping, both women said, noting Cannon has agreed to place as many of the packages as possible on a flight leaving the base.