Packing Event to Support Our Troops

real packing thumbnail ST. JOHNBSURY-VT SUPPORTS held their ninth annual packing event this past Saturday at the Elks Lodge, and hundreds in the community gathered to show support for our troops overseas. 

The event started at 9:00 am, although the doors opened to set up the event a little before 7:00 am. Even Santa made an appearance. Inside the venue, a cluster of tables were dedicated to card making. Everyone from four years old to eighty four years old decorated and hand wrote kind messages for troops.

 The main event took place around a circle of tables that were filled with games, snacks, toiletries, mittens, hats and many other household items. Against one wall was the stacks of white boxes that were filled with everything from this circle of tables. By ten thirty in the morning over two hundred boxes had been filled from going around the tables, and packed away to be shipped to troops.

"We've got about anywhere from four to six different places. We send them to Japan, Afghanistan, Qatar, and you know soldiers are the furthest away during the holidays, and they miss home." said event organizer Mark Fortin.

"This is our ninth year doing this and its pretty near and dear to my heart, as my son didn't make it back from a tour in Iraq. This event just keeps growing too, the community loves it and we're possibly looking at larger venues for next year to accommodate all the people that keep coming each year," said Fortin.

The organizers originally anticipated sending six hundred and fifty care packages this year, but when the event concluded at noon seven hundred and forty holiday care packages had been put together and sent to the St. Johnbsury post office.

"I think what stands out to me is people are given an opportunity to do something that they couldn't normally do. Whether they don't have an address, or they don't know what to pack. So, we give them an opportunity to give back and everyone loves that kind of opportunity," said president of VT Supports Niquelle Timson.

Next year marks the tenth year this event will take place. It happens the first Saturday of December, and the organizers are already making preparations for donations as well as a new venue. The best way to learn about next year's packing event, or to get involved yourself, is to visit VTSupports.org.