Blue Star Mothers in two area chapters are working to pack and ship holiday boxes to military men and women serving overseas and to increase the number of wreaths on veterans’ graves at Florence National Cemetery.
The two units are planning to send about 350 boxes that will be packed later this month. Anne Parker, founding president of Grand Strand Blue Star Mothers is looking for items such as disposable razors, shampoo and body wash in 12 to 16-ounce containers, 3-ounce deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bars of soap and talcum powder in 14-ounce containers. “We would love to have homemade cookies to send as well.” Packing of 200 boxes is scheduled on Nov. 22.
Sharon Russell of the BSM of Coastal Carolina is more concerned about having 150 names and addresses of military men and women scheduled to be at their overseas station until at least mid-January. Russell and Parker want to avoid boxes being returned because the service person has left that assignment. Boxes are not forwarded and shipping costs about $15 per box. Donations covering the shipping cost are gratefully accepted.
Russell says the Coastal Carolina unit has had a couple of collection days and has “quite a storage unit” of items to pack on Nov. 16 at American Legion Post 178 in Murrells Inlet. Names and addressed are needed by Nov. 9 to prepare labels and so forth. Contact information is requested for persons providing the names and addresses of service men and women to receive the boxes. These, by the way, need not be from the Grand Strand.
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And, Russell points out, neither chapter has a problem with service people receiving boxes from both BSM chapters.
Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit that honors the service of veterans buried in over 900 national cemeteries, worldwide. The cemetery in Normandy, France, overlooking beaches of the June 1944 Allied invasion, is one of the best known of the overseas cemeteries. More than 11,000 are buried at Florence National Cemetery.
“Last year, we were able to cover about 2,700 graves. We are hopeful that we can greatly improve on this number in 2014,” Russell says. Both BSM chapters are registered sponsors for Wreaths Across America and participating in the program that provides three wreaths for the $30 coast of two ($15 each).
Saturday, Moose Lodge 1959 on Burcale Road, is sponsoring a Veterans Day weekend dinner and dance to benefit Wreaths Across American. The Moose lodge is providing all the food and entertainment, Russell says, so every $10 for the evening will go to the wreaths project. The wreath-laying ceremony at Florence will be at noon on Dec. 13, the time of ceremonies at more than 900 national cemeteries.
Wreaths Across America has a mission of “Remember — Honor — Teach” and has educational programs for younger citizens and service programs for veterans.