Archive for Wednesday, April 9, 2003

4-H clubs and other volunteers work to send packages overseas

April 9, 2003

Alex Kissinger didn't realize that the Happy Helpers 4-H project would be that much work.

"There's a lot more planning to it, and it's a lot more time consuming and there are a lot more phone calls than I thought there'd be," she said.

Kissinger serves on the seven-member Happy Helpers' care package committee. The group is spearheading a drive to send 750 care packages to service men and women overseas.

Pat Bailey, a leader of the club, said he and his wife, Carol, originally suggested that the group prepare 50 care packages.

"But the kids were pretty ambitious," Bailey said, explaining that there are 750 Kansas national guard members who are now overseas and that the kids wanted to help them all.

"We thought it would be a job. But we try to encourage them," Bailey said. "If they want to tackle something like that, we want to try to let them go at it."

Alex's brother, Clinton, agreed with his sister, but like her, he said the work was worth it.

"Just knowing that the soldiers will have something sweet to eat," Clinton said.

James Bailey said he thought the service men and women would appreciate knowing that they're thought of.

"We think it will make them feel really good," James said.

The committee has rallied the dozens of members of Happy Helpers, along with other 4-H clubs in the county, to help.

And, help is coming from others, as well.

The group has set up donation boxes at area stores, including B&J Country Mart, Pelzl's Do It Best Hardware store and G&P Country Market.

A sign on the box asks for donations of items such as hard candy, powdered drinks, Chapstick, scented candles, baseball cards, comic books, tissues, batteries and letters from people at home.

Already, a box at the Lawrence Checkers store is netting about two grocery sacks full of items a day.

In addition to collecting supplies, the group plans to hold a lock-in May 2 at the fairgrounds so they can stay up all night sewing pillowcases.

"A lot of these guys sleep in the dirt," said Pat Bailey, explaining that they would like to have clean pillowcases.

So far, this project is moving along, with stores donating fabric, and others volunteering to help sew pillowcases, Pat Bailey said.

Members of the Tonganoxie VFW post have volunteered to help in collecting the items.

It's surprising how much help and how many items have been offered so far, Pat Bailey said. Each day it is Bailey who collects the items out of the donation boxes.

"I go to pick them up and I kind of get a tear in my eye," Bailey said.

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