Posted at: 11/08/2012 10:54 PM
Updated at: 11/08/2012 10:57 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
The holiday season is coming several weeks early for troops scattered across the country of Afghanistan. More than 50 boxes packed to the brim with supplies are on their way, put together by volunteers in Superior.
"I'm trying to fold these under so we can get more in here," Ida Mae Korhonen said, trying to fit dozens of toothbrushes into a box.
"Are we doing any toothpaste," Lynn Rae Rochon, Korhonen's packing partner, responded.
It seems the biggest lesson being learned in a back room of the YMCA Thursday afternoon, was space management. But both Korhonen and Rochon caught on quick, finishing packing their first box before we could ask them any questions.
Cathi Austin, the organizer of the box packing party, or more formally called the YMCA's Health Enhancement Coordinator, told Eyewitness News each box is being filled with donated supplies. "Last year, the big thing was Barbasol shave cream. They used it to mark off where land mines were," she said.
This year, it's hand warmers, she said. "If we can do anything to make their lives a little bit easier it's worth it."
Austin said she started sending boxes seven years ago. Her first shipment of just four boxes went to her son. After that, she told us the events started, and grew. That means more supplies, more boxes, and more people ready to fill them.
"I've been doing it ever since they started. [It's] patriotic," said Virginia DeBruyne, of Superior.
DeBruyne's grandson is overseas. She packed boxes with her daughter, Kathy Pattermann. "
He just got sent back the day after Halloween," Patterman said.
Rochon, and Korhonen have family in the military too. Korhonen also told us about family serving overseas decades ago, who have since passed away. Talking about it caused her to get emotional, but she told us packing boxes is her way of giving back.
Korhonen said "anyone that fights for our country deserves the services that we're able to do for them."
Austin said 51 boxes are being shipped this year, compared to about 100 last year. She told us more churches and other organizations are doing similar work.