From Glenrock, With Love

Mary Stewart photos
Crissie Wobig (left) holds the box steady while Mary Bolte tapes it shut before adding it to the stacks of other boxes ready to be sent to active military in Afghanistan at the Glenrock Community Baptist Church Dec. 10.

Mary Stewart

The basement of the Glenrock Community Baptist Church was bustling with activity Tuesday morning. Volunteers were working together like a well-oiled machine. This should come as no surprise, as this was the 17th year for this particular mission.
The basement was filled with tables set up as various working stations, and everyone there knew the routine.
Grab an empty box from the main table and travel around to all the other tables that had boxes filled to the brim with sweet, savory, crunchy and creamy items to pack in. Some boxes had puzzle books and others had different small toys that would bring joy to the man or woman who opened it up.
Once the cardboard boxes were stuffed full, they were brought back to the starting table to be labeled for the mail.
Operation Christmas, the annual packing and sending boxes of goodies to active military personnel sponsored by the Jesse Martin Post 9 Auxiliary, was complete and the packages were on their way to the Glenrock Post Office.
“This is such an important project that is near and dear to all of our hearts,” organizer Joanne Howe. “These soldiers are in war zones and shouldn’t be forgotten. This brings them a taste of home and lets them know that they are loved.”
Howe started the project 17 years ago and ran it from her home for the first three years.
“We had boxes and boxes all over the living room and kitchen,” Howe recalls with a laugh. “I told my husband that he should bring a pizza home for dinner because I couldn’t get to the oven to cook anything.”
After those first years, the pastor at the Baptist church offered the auxiliary group the church basement, which provided the group with much-needed space and large tables.
All of the items that are packed in the boxes, and the money needed for shipping, is all donated by individuals and businesses in Glenrock and Casper.
“We send out letters to businesses, churches and schools and have cans set up at stores so people can donate their change or any dollar amount,” Howe said.
The group is assigned one company that can have as many as 140 personnel and it can cost more than $2,000 to ship all of those boxes to the base overseas.
Businesses donate snack foods and other treats along with puzzle books or other small games.
This year the group raised enough to cover the shipping costs and to purchase some extra items for the soldiers.
Soldiers will open the boxes to find pretzels, chips, candy, chocolate bars, gum, mints, jerky, toiletries, games and movies. It’s a welcome surprise that each military member enjoys while away from family serving their country.
The group has received thank-yous over the years with one company sending over a thank you along with an American flag that was flown at their base in Afghanistan.
Operation Christmas isn’t the only mission the group has. Throughout the year they send gift cards to retired veterans in the VA homes in Cheyenne, Buffalo and Sheridan.
They also send more than 500 dozen homemade cookies and numerous cans of coffee to the Veteran Affairs hospital in Cheyenne.
“We are all very proud to do this every year,” volunteer and auxiliary member Doris Cooper said. “If you’re a member in the women’s auxiliary then you’ve had a family member in war.”
The boxes were shipped out by Wednesday at the latest to an unknown location in a part of the world that is currently at war.
“These boxes give the soldiers comfort, love and lets them know that they are not forgotten,” Cooper said.
For a grandmother that had three grandchildren in the military, with one awarded two purple hearts for his bravery in the Iraq war, this project is close to her heart.
“I can’t thank the communities of Glenrock and Casper, and the residents of Glenrock enough for their generosity and support,” Howe said. “Year after year they give and donate in order for us to get these boxes sent to our soldiers.”


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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