In a previous post, we shared with you efforts put in by “For the Troops” to spread some holiday cheer for deployed troops.
There are various non-profit organizations that have made it their mission to ensure troops are able to get some of the conveniences of home, wherever they are, and whatever the occasion may be. Gail “Boatsie” Van Vranken, through her non-profit group Boatsie’s Boxes, is such an example.
Boatsie’s Boxes is operated by Van Vranken, 70, out of her garage in Wheeling, West Virginia. Since 2004, Boatsie’s Boxes and its volunteers have been spreading cheer, all year round, to troops overseas. And how do they do that? By sending boxes of goodies filled with items that the troops need – and are often in short supply – while on deployment.
These boxes are filled with things that we who are here in the mainland can take for granted: socks, and toiletries such as deodorant and body wash, may not seem like much, but these are things that troops are generally thankful for. On Valentines’ Day, they get handmade cards, while Easter may bring jelly beans.
This Christmas, troops received Christmas stockings filled with stocking-stuffers that include candy, DVDs, socks and toiletries, according to a feature on the Navy Times.
Boatsie began to do volunteer work after her son, Patrick, a senior master sergeant in the Air Force, shared that there was a shortage of supplies such as toiletries, towels and sheets, for troops in the hospital in Baghdad. Boatsie’s husband, Jim, had served in the Navy.
Boatsie’s Boxes is now a nationally-recognized charity, and Boatsie is able to fulfill the requests of troops through donations. She and her volunteers have four special projects each year:
• Hearts for the Troops, with Valentine’s Day’s cards that are made by children
• Operation Jelly Bean Express
• Operation Beat the Heat, which gives service members supplies for summer
• Operation Christmas Stocking, which brings a little Christmas tradition to deployed troops