Through flyers and word of mouth, Sara had spread the word before Halloween within her New Jersey community that extra candy could be dropped off at her home and she would send it to our deployed troops.
"If you get the word out in advance and contact a local elementary school (2 schools, a boy scout troop, and neighbors have donated this pile) you WILL get people who are eager to help", explains Sara.
When several of the parents and children from one of the schools that collected the candy came by to drop it off, Sara showed them the rest of the "operation" - the room where she fills packages and stores the magazines, books, snacks, and personal care items she regularly sends to our Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A few days later, one of the teachers stopped by with even more candy and reported what one of the boys had told other kids in the class after his visit to Sara's home.
I guess the teacher had to see it personally ;-)
Sara doesn't buy all this stuff herself, although she does claim "Power Shopper" status. Through creative ideas like the Halloween project she is able to offer others the opportunity to get involved.
She has obtained permission to place a box in her local supermarket with a flyer listing items deployed troops enjoy. Shoppers can simply drop items into the box, which Sara checks every couple of days. Schools and scouts are always interested in community service projects, and a simple note on a box placed near her front door asking for magazines and books generates lots of donations.
Sara is a long-time member of Soldier's Angels, an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to making sure "No Soldier Goes Unloved". One of her jobs there is to review the daily submissions from deployed Soldiers requesting "adoption".
"When I see that a Soldier or a unit has requested some additional support I think to myself, 'well, I guess I can send one more package.'"
Sara is a Proud Army Mom whose son is currently serving his second deployment to Iraq.
To find out more about Soldiers' Angels, please visit our main website.