Everyone knows it’s important to show gratitude to the military for their service and sacrifice. Now, a new organization in New Fairfield has formed to help send care packages to deployed military service members.
Operation NF4Troops is the brainchild of New Fairfield resident Barbara Evans. Her son, Lance Corporal Joseph Evans, is currently serving in the United States Marine Corp, and like any mom, she wanted to send her son some remembrances of home. She put a post on social media to see if other New Fairfield residents wanted to be a part of the program to help send care packages to those in the armed forces. Within three days, she received 140 responses from people who were eager to help.
“The response from the community has been amazing,” says Patti Mallory, who is working with Evans to help get Operation NF4Troops off the ground. Within a matter of days, the pair had already established a name as well as a mission statement. “The goal of Operation NF4Troops is to send a care package twice a year to the troops–once in March and another one before the holidays,” says Mallory.
Operation NF4Troops is having a kick-off fundraiser on Saturday, February 29 at the 440 Line Restaurant in New Fairfield. “The event is from 6pm-10pm,” says Mallory, whose son Connor is in the Air Force. There will be a band, The Bellas, performing from 7pm – 9pm. Residents can learn more about the program and can donate to a great cause. The 440 Line will match all the tips at the kick-off fundraiser as a donation to the organization.
In the meantime, both Mallory and Evans are working hard to finalize the details for the upcoming care package extravaganza scheduled for this March. They are working on getting their 501c3, which will give Operation NF4Troops a non-profit organization status. While some of the locations for collection boxes are still being determined, Johnny’s Food Center and Bruno’s Pizzeria have already confirmed that residents can donate items there for the deployed troops. “We’ve had a lot of offers for donations,” says Mallory. “The Girl Scouts wants to donate 100 boxes of cookies, and the Boy Scouts are going to write letters as well.” Teachers from Consolidated School have offered to decorate the boxes with their classes to make them extra special.
As for the boxes themselves, they will all contain similar items. “We want to make the boxes consistent, like having ChapStick, beef jerky, and Girl Scout cookies,” says Mallory. “Then, we’d like to include one personal item for each individual service member.” And that’s where the New Fairfield community can help. Both Mallory and Evans are looking for residents who want a box to go to a specific member of the military (such as a son, daughter, grandchild, or other relative), so that a personal item can be included in the package. “We can work with the family members to see what their loved ones might want, whether it’s a photo, a postcard from New Fairfield, or something more significant,” says Mallory.
Collection boxes will be available starting March 1st and will be at various locations through March 21st. Once all the items have been collected, the process will begin to assemble the boxes. Then on Sunday, March 22nd, the boxes will be assembled so that they’ll be ready to ship on March 23rd.
If you’d like to participate or have the name of a military service member from New Fairfield or Sherman you’d like a box to go to, please contact either Evans or Mallory at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find out more information via the organization’s Facebook group page, NF4Troops.
By Jennifer Parris