The East Valley Military Support Group mailed 49 boxes of goodies and 300 Easter baskets this month to U.S. troops in Iraq.
Items are needed to replenish the group’s supplies, including powdered drink mixes, peanut butter, jelly, refried beans, tostada shells, nuts, hard candy or anything that can help fill a soldier up in between meals. Games, music and movies are also needed.
Chandler resident Faith Steele, the group’s founder, sent 100 boxes in both January and February, as well as 1,300 boxes total in 2004. That includes a few thousand Christmas gifts. Postage averages about $40 per box.
Two of Steele’s sons have been involved in the war. Sgt. James Steele, 30, is over there right now, and Sgt. Jeffrey Steele, 38, left Iraq a couple of weeks ago. Her efforts in mailing care packages began at the onset of military operations in Iraq.
"As long as we’ve got troops over there, I’m going to keep it going," said Steele, who gets lots of thank-you letters from troops. "I’ve got very little food left as far as things to send for summer."
At 1 p.m. April 3, the group will host a picnic at Freestone Park, 1045 E. Juniper Ave. in Gilbert. Anyone is welcome to attend the event, which will feature a fund-raising "quarter auction." The last quarter auction raised $800.
The group always needs more volunteers and donations. To learn more, call (480) 963-4462.