Volunteers Needed to Prepare Care Packages for Troops Overseas

HYANNIS – Cape Cod Cares for the Troops will prepare about 1000 Christmas care packages for deployed service men and women next weekend in Hyannis.

The annual packaging party will be held Saturday, November 24 in the old Sports Authority building at Capetown Plaza, also known as the Kmart Plaza, beginning at 10 a.m.

Michelle DeSilva, who co-founded the organization in 2005 with her then 12-year-old son Dylan, said volunteers are needed for the event.

“If you can come in for 5 minutes, or an hour or the whole day you are welcome to, and just help us get these care packages all assembled and put together and ready to mail,” DeSilva said.

The non-profit organization has sent more than 33,000 care packages since 2005.

DeSilva said the recipients appreciate the needed care packages.

“There are a lot of men and women who are over there who are still not receiving much mail,” she said. “So for them to get a package addressed to their name with all the contents and cards and letters from people from the Cape it really means a lot.”

DeSilva said the packages are just a great reminder for the troops that they are not forgotten back home.

“For them it is just a great reminder, especially at the holidays when they are missing their families and they are missing their friends and they are missing all the traditions back home,” she said.

Some of the troops who have received care packages even come and help at the event after returning home.

“They tell us what it means to them and they’ll know what it means to the person that they are helping send stuff to,” DeSilva said.

Care package item donations and monetary donations for shipping costs are still being accepted. Shipping cost estimates for the care packages are expected to be between $18,000 and $25,000. DeSilva said the organization is halfway to its donation goal for shipping costs.

A list of suggested items and drop off locations can be found at capecod4thetroops.com.

Donations can also be made the day of the event.

“We’ll be at Sports Authority that day so even if you can’t help, if you just want to come by and drop off some donations or drop off some cards that maybe you and your family can sign – that is a huge help,” DeSilva said.

Organizers will also be at the former Sports Authority building the Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the day after the holiday, and donations will be accepted then.

DeSilva said she never believed this effort would be this successful and would only last a few years.

“As the wars went longer and longer the need for care packages increased,” she said. “We also realized the need for our veterans here at home.”

DeSilva said the effort continues to grow because of the strong support from the community.

“People want to help. You just need to give them an avenue to help,” she said. “This provides us all with a way to say thank you to our service men and women and also to support them and let them know that we appreciate their sacrifices and their service to our country.”

The organization is also still accepting names and addresses for package recipients.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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