County residents brighten lives of troops abroad

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Thanks to the repeated generosity of area residents, American troops serving in Afghanistan will soon be enjoying a taste of home, as well as appreciating the generous supplies of toiletry and grooming products that they are receiving through the recent drive sponsored by the Jefferson County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees.

Project coordinator Charlotte S. Fye reported that more than 50 boxes, cartons, and bags of "goodies" and health and hygiene supplies were collected throughout the month of April.

After the merchandise was sorted and repacked in early May, the materials were delivered to the Soldiers' Angels chapter of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church in Indiana for packing and shipment abroad.

In addition to the items, donors gave $300 to help with the cost of shipping, which is approximately one dollar a pound.

Kim Kordell, who heads the Angels group, was elated to receive the contributions from this area. She remarked that the supply shelves were bare; everything that had previously been donated from Indiana and Jefferson counties had already been sent to the cooperating chaplains to distribute to the troops in Afghanistan.

Officials have repeatedly cited the importance of the candy, snack foods, and health and beauty aids that Americans take for granted. The packages "from home" demonstrate to the military personnel that they have not been forgotten.

Americans are grateful for their service and send their thanks with boxes of jelly beans, jerky, chips, Twizzlers, dental supplies, hair care products and other items which the men and women of the armed forces request.

The items that weary soldiers receive help to boost their morale and emotionally connect them to their homeland.

Fye said, "Although our overall total was not as large as the previous drive in November, PASR is happy to see that the people of this area continue to be generous and eager to help with the Support the Troops campaign. We are especially grateful for the on-going cooperation of our five collection sites: Comet Market and County Market in Punxsutawney; the Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library in Brookville; Mike's BiLo Market in Reynoldsville and the Brockwayville Depot in Brockway."

She also pointed out that several organizations gave above and beyond in their support of the drive. These groups included the United Methodist Women of First United Methodist Church of Punxsutawney, Board of Deacons of First Presbyterian Church of Johnstown, North Point United Methodist Church and the Valley Chapel of Juneau.

Thanks to the public’s request, PASR hopes to conduct a holiday drive in the month of October.