Aug. 21, 2010

Packages from Home

This month’s featured business is Packages From Home. I first met them at a poker tournament they hosted back in July.  When they explained what they did, I couldn’t help but join the rest of the players and donate to their cause.  I now have the honor of featuring them here.  To read more about them, go to Packages From Home.

From the organization:

Packages From Home is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Phoenix, Arizona. Our mission is to send care and comfort packages to deployed American military heroes who are stationed in active duty theaters around the world, as well as to facilitate activities that elevate morale of all veterans.

Packages from Home began as a labor of love for our founder Kathleen Lewis. Her son, Christian, is a soldier with the Army’s 1st Infantry Division. Christian was deployed to Iraq in March 2004. Kathleen began sending care packages to him on a regular basis. When Kathleen received a phone call from him thanking her for all of the comfort items from home, she found out that her son was the only soldier in his squad receiving any packages from home. At that moment, Kathleen, with the help of some friends, decided to “adopt” her son’s entire squad and began shipping packages to the other men in his unit.  Kathleen felt it was important to let these American heroes and complete strangers know they were being thought of and appreciated at home.

Word of her thoughtful efforts spread like wildfire through Kathleen’s circle of friends, and eventually more and more people began to contact her wanting to help.  In October 2004, Kathleen received a call from then local KFYI radio talk show host, Bruce Jacobs, inviting her to be on his morning talk show and discuss Packages From Home. After the appearance on his show, Kathleen’s phone lines lit up. Some people wanted to donate money, others wanted to donate items, and more wanted to donate their time to help support her son’s squad. Kathleen soon realized that her 2-car garage could hold only so many people and care packages at one time. In November of 2004, Packages From Home requested charitable status with the IRS.  Packages From Home then became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Our sole purpose is to provide food, personal care, and recreational items to deployed American troops, at no cost to them. Since March 2005 we have averaged 1,000 to 1,500 packages a month being shipped to our heroes. Our goal is to ship many more. We collect donated items from generous patriotic citizens who live all across America. These items include non-perishable food, personal toiletries, and recreational items like games, books, music CDs and movie DVDs. A list of items needed by the troops is available on our “Things to Donate” page along with the location of “Drop Off Locations” in the greater Phoenix Arizona area where items may be donated. (No alcohol, tobacco products, pressurized containers, x-rated materials or any other item deemed unsuitable or unsafe will ever be sent by us.) Our staff and volunteers carefully pack the donations into U.S. Post Office Flat-Rate Priority Mail boxes. The boxes are then mailed to U.S. servicemen and women who are deployed overseas in harm’s way. Monetary donations go towards mailing costs and/or purchasing of special items to send to the troops.

Packages From Home is one of the organizations listed and recognized by the Department of Defense to send care packages in support of our troops. Through our own efforts and the efforts of complete strangers we have grown from a 2-car garage into a full organization.

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