An estimated 70,000 combat military personnel are still deployed overseas, despite America’s pullback from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Our work is not done,” said Linda Smith, a representative of Yolo Military Families, which organizes the annual Hugs From Home support drive. “All service members deployed today are just as important as those who deployed in 2001. Some will be leaving for their first tour, others maybe for their second or third tour and in some cases for their fourth deployments.”
On Saturday, Yolo Military Families will once again collect supplies and funds to provide Hugs From Home packages for deployed service members. They will be in front of SaveMart at Anderson Road and Covell Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“With community support in the past, we have delivered boxes to Iraq, Afghanistan and several support locations in the Middle East,” Smith said in a news release. “We have also sent boxes to the transit site in the Kyrgyz Republic, a hospital in Afghanistan and, because of remote locations, some boxes have been included in air drops over Afghanistan. Since November of last year we have mailed out over 200 boxes.
“Community support is important to continue this work,” she added. “Being remembered by those of us at home is the best support our service members can receive. Their job is not done, so how can ours be?”
Local residents can help by dropping off donations Saturday at SaveMart or at donation boxes that will be in place by Wednesday and will remain until Friday, Nov. 2.
In Davis, donation boxes will be at Redwood Barn Nursery, 1607 Fifth St.; Davis Police Department, 625 Cantrill Drive; Harrison Self-Storage, 2323 Second St. and 200 Madson Place; The Davis Graduate, 805 Russell Blvd.; First Northern Bank, 434 Second St.; and Yolo Sportsmen’s Association, 24189 Aviation Ave.
In Woodland, donations will be accepted at the American Red Cross office, 120 Court St.; Tri-Counties Bank/Bel-Air Market, 1813 E. Gibson Road; Food 4 Less, 451 Pioneer Ave.; First Northern Bank, 11 W. Court St., Suite A; North Valley Bank, 630 Main St.; River City Bank, 199 Main St.; and Life Pointe Church, 1616 West St. (Monday through Thursday only).
Suggested items for the boxes include travel-size toiletries; snack foods; card and word game books; individual cans of fruit, tuna and ravioli; packaged soup; hot chocolate; and individual packages of coffee and flavored drinks. The troops also can use face masks, socks, electrical tape and AA, AAA and 9-volt batteries.
Those who would like to send cards of support to service members also can drop them off at the above locations. Please do not use glitter and feathers, and include no envelopes.
Cash donations are always appreciated; drop them off at SaveMart or send a donation to Yolo Military Families in care of First Northern Bank, 434 Second St., Davis, CA 95616, attn: C. MacPherson; or Tri-Counties Bank, 1885 Gibson Road, Woodland, CA 95776, attn. S. Lilley.
A second fundraiser is planned for Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, and is sponsored by The Davis Graduate and the Sunset Rotary Club of Davis. All are welcome to enjoy a barbecue dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. that evening at The Graduate, 805 Russell Blvd. A donation of $13 per adult and $7 per child under 12 will be collected at the door. Proceeds will be used to offset the cost of postage.
For more information about Yolo Military Families, or if you know of a deployed service member and would like to send a box to them, email firstname.lastname@example.org.