Make a Difference

The Blue Star Mothers need items for troops

Meredith Moss

The national organization of Blue Star Mothers of America is a nonprofit organization that’s been supporting our active duty military and veterans since World War II. The local group — Miami Valley Chapter No. 3 — is one of the largest in the United States. Members include both mothers of active-duty military or honorably and medically discharged veterans as well as many friends and associates who support the organization’s mission including schools, churches, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Veterans’ organizations and local community and business members.

Folks support the cause by donating items to ship overseas, contribute money for shipping packages and purchasing supplies, and volunteering time at the Troop Center.

“Most people don’t realize that our military do not get issued everything they need when they get deployed and it is impossible to buy personal-care items or snacks from a foxhole in some sandy bad place,” says Kim Schinder, chapter president. “A Marine recently reported to us that for the first two months of his unit’s deployment, they did not have enough food. It was our chapter’s care packages which sustained them. He was so very grateful.”

Schinder says her Blue Star Mothers chapter will continue bringing some sunshine and help to the lives of local veterans and deployed military. “It’s up to us and our supporters to educate the public about the sacrifices of our military and their families,” she says. “BSM tries to fill the gap but the most important ingredient in any of our care packages and at our VA events is the love from our community. Our chapter cannot undertake these challenges alone, as we operate completely on donated goods and money.”

Located at 6601 Clyo Road in Centerville, the Troop Center is buzzing with activity from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. most Saturdays. Community members drop off donations or monetary gifts, and local groups schedule times to help members pack boxes to send overseas or assist in sorting and stocking the shelves. Schinder says the need for donations is great because of the increasing deployment.

What they need

■Tuna foil packs and cans ■Tuna chicken salad w/ crackers ■Small packs of nuts ■ Raman noodles ■ Dental floss ■ Sunscreen ■Men’s body wash ■ Men’s lotion ■ Foot powder/medicated foot powder ■ Men’s deodorant ■ Cotton balls ■ Chap stick ■ Drink mixes ■ Gum ■ Eye drops ■ Hand sanitizer ■3-ounce or less mouthwash ■Microwave mac and cheese, in cups ■ Microwave potatoes rice, in cups ■Money for special requests, shipping costs and related support expenses

Note that at this time the organization does not need toothpaste, toothbrushes, fruit cans, peanut butter crackers, fruit snacks or razors. Items can be dropped off at the Troop Center, 6601 Clyo Road, Centerville on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. You’ll also find drop-off donation barrels outside the main entrance.