The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 24, 2013

Students pack valentine boxes for U.S. troops in Afghanistan

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Soldiers on duty in Afghanistan soon will get boxes of valentine love from Enid, thanks to the efforts of two classrooms and Blue Star Mothers.

Hillsdale Christian School’s 21 third- and fourth-graders brought letters and valentine ornaments they made to Blue Star Mothers’ gift shop at Oakwood Mall Thursday morning, and also helped pack boxes to be mailed to the soldiers.

The students surrounded two work tables and passed the boxes down the line, each putting something into the box before passing it along.

The boxes will go to soldiers on deployment with the Oklahoma National Guard’s 1245th and 1345th units. About 40 member of the 1345th are deployed out of Mustang, and 117 members of the 1245th deployed to Afghanistan are out of McAlester.

The students packed the boxes with Girl Scout cookies, DVDs, foot powder, toilet paper, wet wipes, lotion, Q-tips, cotton balls, disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, bath soap, antiperspirant, feminine items, tissues, candy, granola bars and other snack foods, tea bags, cocoa mix, coffee, lip balm and batteries.

As the kids packed boxes, they chattered with each other.

“Why is all the good stuff on the bottom, like the Bottle Caps?” asked Garrett Slaving as he fingered through the box of candy. “Bottle Caps are good.”

Garrett retrieved packages of Bottle Caps and moved them to the top of the box.

As the medium-sized, flat-rate boxes were packed, Blue Star Mothers volunteers took them to another table to add a valentine cookie to the top, fold the boxes closed and tape them shut. Mailing labels were added last.

When all the work was done, teachers Sally Stevens and Dodi Pratt took the classes to Chick-fil-A for lunch, then took the packed boxes to the post office to mail them off.

Postage for each of the flat-rate boxes is $11.35. When postage rates increase at the end of this month, each box will cost $12.45 to mail, said Karen Vollman, secretary of Enid’s Blue Star Mothers.

“The money is raised by sales in the store, by donations and by fundraisers,” Vollman said. “People will come in and just donate to be patriotic.”

Blue Star Mothers group packs boxes to mail to soldiers the fourth Thursday of each month. Ȁ