The Dodge City chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America organization sent 20 boxes of various items and necessities to deployed service members to start off their 2018.
"We got together boxing with items donated from the county who collected items to send to the troops," Blue Star Mothers member Margaret Butcher said. "We usually try to get the boxes sent off for Christmas but this year we decided to send New Year's packages out."
Blue Star Mothers gathered at the Boot Hill Casino and Resort administration office on 14th Avenue on Wednesday.
The items gathered were snack items, protein bars, lip balm and razors among many others.
"It was things we don't think about on a normal day to have," Butcher said. "When we don't have these things we think, 'I think I need that,' so those were some of the items we got sent in.
"A few toiletries of course but not as much."
One trick the Blue Star Mothers used was how they packaged the items without packing peanuts.
"We used soft candy," Butcher said. "We used individual wrapped candies and put them in and once the items settles in it becomes better packing.
"It helps to minimize true too because if say we send toothpaste, we take the toothpaste out of the box it comes in and send just the tube.
"We want to get as much in as possible as well as minimize waste because some places the soldiers are deployed to they don't have adequate trash disposal.
"Plus the candy is a nice surprise for when they open the boxes. We used about 15 pounds of candy."
The Blue Star Mothers organization was reported on Congressional record on Feb. 6, 1942 with chapters forming in Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, Iowa and Washington. The organization was then chartered by Congress in June of 1960.
According to bluestarmothers.org website, The Blue Star Mothers of America provide support for active duty service personnel, promotes patriotism, assists Veterans organizations and are available to assist in homeland volunteer efforts to help our country remain strong.
"The southwest Kansas group is only one of two in the whole state," Butcher said. "We are a support group for families of those serving in the military. We talk to each other through our Facebook group and other outlets because we are here to support each other.
"But the interest here is waning.
"Being a non-profit we are not able to find office space and are looking at what to do and in the mean time, we have to have a certain amount of members involved to be nationally recognized and we just aren't able to maintain the requirements.
"We will still be here supporting everyone, that won't change at all."
Butcher said she grew up on military bases because her parents were private contractors with the military.
Her son is also currently serving.
"Some people just don't know what military families go through," Butcher said. "We are here to support each other and help each other through everything."
"I would also like to thank Danielle Crouch at the (Western State) Expo Center for organizing the drive and thank the Ford County employees who participated as well as the Boot Hill Casino for the use of their administrative offices for boxing."
For more information on how to get involved with Blue Star Mothers visit the Facebook group, Blue Star Mothers of Southwest Kansas and submit a request.
You can also email Butcher at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions on how to join.
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