VT Supports Packing Event

pictureVT Supports is an organization that has been bringing the communities of the North East Kingdom together to support Veterans since it gained official non-profit status in 2013. Their goal is to pack and send 400 boxes of supplies overseas to American soldiers.

 

This year, the organization broke it's goal by filling 520 boxes and receiving seven Christmas trees. The trees are sent over with the boxes, and the boxes are placed underneath. The supplies for the boxes are gathered from drop off locations at local businesses, items that get dropped off at the annual packing event, and through donations made by members of the community.

The packing event is held annually at the Saint Johnsbury Elks club where the community is invited to help donate and prepare the boxes for shipping. They ship for a flat rate, at $15.90 per box and are packed with supplies soldiers may not otherwise have access to or recieve. The cost of shipping is also covered by donations that are made to the organization.

"We had Vermont Village Cannery donate 820 pouches of applesauce. So we try to know when we go to BJs," VT Supports president Niquelle Timson said. "We go the Tuesday before the event, so we kind of know where we're lacking by what people have dropped off and the donations that we've gotten so we can kind of go to the store so we can get crackers, and peanut butter, and that kind of stuff."

As president, Timson has helped the event grow from a small community run charity, into an official non-profit organization.

"There was an older lady at my church that had started this. Her son was over seas during Desert Storm around 2003 and he called her and wondered if she and the church could get together and send some boxes over as a moral boost for his unit because they didn't have a lot of access to a p-x, which is an exchange, like a nicer Wal-Mart," Timson said. "In Iraq in Afghanistan, if you're lucky, you'll have to go through barricades and stuff to get to a green zone where you can get to a p-x, which is sometimes marked in between, to go and get the stuff you need."

For Timson, the event is about a lot more than just packing and shipping boxes. Timson's late husband served in Iraq and Afghanistan during the second Desert Storm and ever since, it's been something she's stuck with.

"In 2009 my husband was deployed to Iraq and so I came home [to Vermont], while he was deployed, because I didn't want to be in Texas by myself, and I came home and I was like, well, I'm going to help out this winter," Timson explains. "My husband was actually killed in August, but I decided to still stick with the project and help her out because she wasn't getting any younger and I've stuck with it ever since."

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