Group Spreads Love with Packages to Marines

Posted at: 10/23/2013 9:29 PM
Updated at: 10/23/2013 10:18 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

Some deployed Marines and sailors will get some extra special attention this Christmas. Unfortunately, not every service member overseas has a supportive family at home, but a group of women in northwestern Wisconsin is hoping to step in and help.

It is the idea of Tracy Tollers of Maple, Wis. With help from social media, Spreading the Love has grown into a county-wide campaign.

"We have 100 Marines and sailors that are not receiving support from home, so I took it upon myself to spread the love," said Tollers.

At the Dollar Tree in Superior Wednesday, Tollers rallied her shopping troops. She even got help from some service members in training.

"We are shopping for the troops so we can send them care packages and so they know they aren't alone," said S.A. Drew Heaslip, a U.S. Naval Sea Cadet with the Twin Ports Division.

The shoppers each have a shopping list made up of items the Marines actually asked for. The list has toiletries, miscellaneous items like batteries and pens, and of course, lots of food and candy.

"Anything that can last a couple weeks in the mail, that's what we are looking for," said Tollers.

Tollers is a Marine mom. When she heard some deployed Marines and soldiers weren't getting anything from home, it broke her heart. She said she can't imagine them watching while other Marines open their holiday mail.

"For them to sit there and watch that, I can't deal with that. I'm just one person but I have so many people that are stepping up," said Tollers.

They shop for the gifts with donated money, but they are also taking donations. Melanie Sikveland works at Campbell Lumber. There, you'll find a drop-box and on it, a photo explaining their cause.

"That is a picture of the first mail shipment when they were deployed and there's 13,000 pounds of mail, and 100 of those guys didn't get a single piece of it," said Sikveland.

They have 100 boxes to fill, but they are determined. Tollers said by December 7th they will all be filled. That's when they are having a packaging party at Campbell Lumber.

If you would like to help donate, drop-boxes can be found at the following locations: Tri-State Business Systems, Campbell Lumber, the City Clerk's Office and Shabby Shed in Superior, and the Pizza Parlor in Iron River.

For more information about what you can donate, go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/events/152458041631161/.