Students place coffee, golf balls and other useful items in care packages for soldiers
Children, soldiers exchange e-mails and letters
NORTH CANAAN â€” American troops have heeded the call to duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for six years now. Through the alternating terror and boredom of life in a war zone, they still live day to day, often with an inadequate supply of basics (such as toiletries) and those little extras than can buoy the spirit: snacks, music, magazines, maybe a book to read.
North Canaan Elementary School has mounted a month-long effort to collect items requested by servicemen and -women on active duty. Most-wanted items are toiletries, snack foods and school supplies for village children.
Second-grade teacher Ashley DeMazza, who is spearheading the effort with student organizer Tori Merrill, said a few special requests are also being met.
â€œApparently, some Marines from Connecticut have set up a makeshift driving range, but they are using rocks instead of balls. Quarry View Golf Course donated 25 dozen golf balls,â€ DeMazza said.
Another request, for a couple of footballs, was fulfilled by the Steamrollers football team.
Olde School Deli is sending ground coffee, probably the most-requested item.
The Dollar Depot has made donations of items and established a collection box so the entire community can help out.
As for the students, even the youngest are able to understand the sacrifice the servicemen and -women are making.
â€œWeâ€™ve talked about what it must be like to be away from home for a long time,â€ DeMazza said. â€œThey know there are a lot of people around the world who are not as fortunate as they are, to be able to get everything they need.â€
The effort is already sparking an exchange of letters and e-mails between the troops and students.
A goal of 250 collected items has been set. Donations may be brought to the school or to Dollar Depot.