(Update: Adding video)
Volunteers, items to send are always helpful -- but they really need more names of those serving
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Twenty years ago, Dianne Brock's son was deployed in Iraq. As a mother, she understandably felt helpless. The only thing she could do was send a package with some of the comforts of home. A very special idea grew from there.
Caring for Troops was born, and during the Iraq War took up donated space at the then-Mountain View Mall for regular "packing days," where volunteers would line up and assemble care packages full of donated items, as well as special messages of support from kids and adults alike.
There were also rallies held there, full of US flags, speeches and applause, in support of our troops and their mission.
"What we do is send a message, that we are thinking of you and that we support you," Brock said recently.
Two decades later, albeit in a more quiet fashion, the Caring for Troops organization is still at it, now operating at the Bend VFW Hall. And then, as now, volunteers are key.
While we don't have as much of a focus that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought, there are still many Central Oregonians serving their country overseas, far from home.
But the number of packages sent is the lowest since they started -- not due to lack of donations or volunteers -- it's more because they need the names of those serving.
If a friend, relative or loved one is deployed, you can send them a care package by signing up at http://www.caringfortroops.com.
Also a veteran himself, Dianne's husband, Michael Brock shared a memory of a package he received while deployed.
"As a lieutenant in Vietnam, we didn't get this kind of response from the people of America," he said. "(During operation) Desert Shield, Desert Storm, I got a giant box of cookies made by one of my former Marine's mother. And the troops went crazy over it! You could see the morale just jump when you share things with them."
The packages are filled with simple things from home, and if you have ever been in a similar situation, you understand that each individual fruit snack is a banquet to you, and every word in a magazine from home, a novel.
To help, or to sign up someone you know for these special packages, visit caringfortroops.com.