Monday, May 28, 2007

Perspective: Volunteers help parcel out a nation's gratitude

Rip-rip-rip! Rip-rip-rip!

That was the sound made at a Van Nuys Army National Guard Armory on Saturday by a battalion of citizen volunteers armed with Priority Mail shipping tape, with the rolls unleashing a screech every time a box was taped up.

Into the boxes went candy, DVDs, hand sanitizer, energy drinks, magazines, suntan lotion, foot powder, Girl Scout cookies, decks of cards, socks, even a Beanie Baby or Mr. Potato Head — all to be sent as care packages to U.S. troops in combat zones across the globe.

"They use dental floss to sew up tears in their uniform. They like body wipes — they can't shower for days on end. And a squeeze tube of peanut butter can taste awfully good when all you're eating are MREs," the military's bland meals ready to eat, volunteer Jack Knight, 69, of Studio City said Saturday.

Hundreds came out to kick off the first day of Operation Gratitude, an eight-day effort spread across weekends through June to pack and ship tens of thousands of packages to soldiers stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.

Read the rest at the LA Times