Sunday, August 26, 2012

Update: August 2012

I'm back with a few more Toys for Troops Highlights!

150 of ours came home in late spring/early summer, and I'm back to scrambling for names and addresses. There are about 25 on the list now, and we hope to add at least 100 more by Christmas. Christmas care packages go out in 13 weeks!

As I mentioned in the last post, I just received the names and addresses of 5 platoon leaders, and we introduced ourselves to them recently with a letter and 100 dozen cookies. I have also sent battery-operated misting fans to distribute to those working in the field.

So, that's where we are now, and Champaign's News-Gazette was kind enough to highlight our endeavors after I rallied on Facebook. It was published yesterday, here:

And now that it's out there, I'd like to back up and acknowledge everyone that helped make just those two projects happen.

The Misting Fan Project


Those that follow me on Facebook may remember that I just tossed out a request: "Buy one of these for a soldier, and I'll mail it for you."

Urbana VFW 630 caught wind of my request, and offered to help me out:

They told me to shop or ship, whatever we needed.

I contacted the makers of the fan, O2 Cool, and they were very helpful, offering me wholesale prices—under one condition: I had to have a resale certificate.

I do not have a resale certificate, Sam I Am, so back to the drawing board for me. I put out another APB, and Sara at Dandelion Vintage Clothing, offered to order the fans for me. I cleared it with O2 Cool, and thanks to Sara, we were back in business!

 Shop here!

100 Dozen Cookies kettlecorn, puppy chow, and rice krispie treats—you don't think I made all that myself, do you? I made a double batch of chocolate krinkles, then the majority of my work consisted of meeting people in parking lots to pick up the goods.

Big-big Thank You to all of our bakers, and to everyone that heard of the project, popped checks in the mail, handed them to me at work, and made Paypal donations. Our bank balance, once again, after shopping and shipping for these two projects, increased. It never ceases to amaze me.

A Bonus Heartwarming Story: 

The day I took the cookies to the post office, a gentleman in the parking lot offered to help me carry boxes. I thanked him and promised him the load was relatively light: "just cookies heading to Afghanistan."

We were the only two customers in the post office so of course I let him go first in line. When he was done, he turned around and folded this into my hand:

I'm as paralyzed about what to write now, as I was speaking then. I'm sure I got "thank you" out about a dozen times while he was racing out.

These are the tales I tell my soldier babies. While I am feeding them spaghetti, I grab their chins and say "strangers just hand me cash to take care of you, y'know."


The card I popped in to all of the boxes.

Since everyone isn't pictured there special thanks to bakers Val Deichman, Nicole Philyaw, Will Page, Sandi Smith, Denise Halberstadt, Sandy Linneman, Katie Linneman & Mark Baker, Tammy and Aryn Zymkie, Barb Comtois, and Sarah Westhoff .

Here's a gratuitous photo of me with the Miller High Life "Give a Veteran a Piece of the High Life" Humvee. That poor guy was ready to pack it up and go home for the day, but I played my "I have a son in the Army" card, and made him get out and take my picture. 

And don't forget: If you have a loved one serving in Kuwait or Afghanistan, we'd love to send him or her a box of goodies. Mail me at, and I'll tell you more!