Support for troops can be packages from homefront

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By Donald Richie

With local National Guard troops in Afghanistan fighting the Global War on Terror, many local residents may feel a desire to do something to help.

One Harrison County resident wants to do just that and wants to recruit the community's help.

Marilou Brunker said after watching a good friend leave with the unit, she felt helpless and wanted to do something to help.

"I went with my family to see him off at the Christian Church," she said in an e-mail last week. "And I kept thinking about everything they were doing and risking."

She started with the idea to have her American Heritage Girls troop adopt her friend. They will be writing letters, making cards and drawing pictures to send to him and the unit.

After speaking with his sister, the idea to send care packages formulated. At first it was just going to involve the American Heritage Girls troop and Brunker's co-workers.

"Then I thought that if I felt the need to 'do something,' that other people are probably feeling the same way," she said. "So I sent my plea to every person I have on my e-mail list hoping to get a response."

In that e-mail, Brunker made several suggestions as to what people could do.

Food items such as fruit snacks, potato chips (single size bags), Combos, Crystal Light To Go, granola bars (anything but chocolate) and Easy Mac/Chef Boyardee microwaveable meals are suggested.

Toiletries are always needed by troops overseas, including sunscreen, bug spray, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, socks, razors, sandals (for showers), newspapers from home and pictures.

Some helpful hints are: don't send food with toiletries (the food will end up tasting like toiletry product) and don't send chocolate (it melts.)

Also, package items very well and tape all sides of the box with packing tape. Put packing tape over shipping label. That way, in case it gets wet, it won't run or fade.

Brunker hasn't set up any drop off locations yet, but said as she gets responses from the public, she will. She can be reached at 1-866-631-8304 (leave a message) or 234-5184 (leave a message) or after 5 p.m. at 859-509-7718. E-mail works great, too: mkateb71@hotmail.com.

The idea for the project, Brunker said, is to keep it going throughout the troops' deployment.