EATON — Blue Star Mothers of America’s Chapter OH 11 Echo 1 held its annual Holiday Hugs packing party on Saturday, Dec. 3, and this year, some four-legged soldiers will also get some love.
According to President Linda Samuels, “Blue Star Moms are mothers of military soldiers or veterans. We were commissioned by the government during WWII.”
The organization is dedicated to “sending a little bit of home” back to troops. They send letters, cards from local school children, homemade cookies, candy and snacks.
The Holiday Hugs event has been held for the last 10 years.
Compared to other years, donations were low. However, the mothers still managed to surpass their goal of 200 boxes.
This year, the mothers packed boxes not only for their sons, but for the military K-9 dogs as well.
“A mother had sent us her son’s address, telling us that he was a K-9 handler,” Samuels said. “We decided to run with that, because we had never done anything for K-9s.”
Samuels then read and spoke to her own son and found out that the government does not provide much to the handlers of K-9 dogs. They provide food, the harnesses, and bullet-proof vests. Toys for the dogs are not provided.
The boxes sought to fix that. In the boxes for the K-9 dogs there are collapsible bowls, bags of treats, stuffed animals, many different types of balls, bones, and other items. Some of these items were donated by Subaru.
In the boxes for the military sons there are books, magazines, snacks, personal items, and more.
In order to create their list of soldiers who receive boxes, the mothers use email and Facebook. Any name and address they receive will then get a box.
This year the chapter invited all military moms to attend the event and help. They were able to bring an address for their child and pack a box free of charge, including postage. The group also offered military moms one free year of membership to the organization, which normally costs $30.
American Legion Post 182 of New Palestine, Indiana donated all money for postage.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH