Berlin-based nonprofit prepares to send care packages to troops overseas
BERLIN – A local non-profit organization is putting the cover back by sending medical packages to US troops serving overseas.
Berlin-based Boxes to Boots is dedicated to sending love and thanks to the troops in the form of cards, gifts and supplies. The organization is currently preparing for its annual Christmas expedition – the largest of the year – and is enlisting the help of the community in collecting items and monetary donations.
Socks, energy bars, hygiene products, cards and small games are a welcome respite for soldiers who have lost loved ones far from home. The full list of items needed is available on the Boxes to Boots website. The organization has an Amazon wish list and a Walmart registry.
Boxes to Boots also hopes to receive monetary donations. It costs $ 20 to ship each package and with around 800 boxes on hand, the organization hopes to find sponsors and receive help from the community in raising funds.
“Sometimes our care packages are the only connection some of our soldiers have,” said President Kristen Gauvin.
Gauvin is also hoping to recruit volunteers for the wrapping event on November 6 at New Britain Bees Stadium. Last year, Boxes to Boots sent 700 Christmas packages along with 350 more throughout the year.
Berlin Upbeat, Berlin High School, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Adelbrook Transitional Academy and local church groups are just a few of the volunteers who help Boxes to Boots.
Although the packages are distributed worldwide, this year the majority of the boxes will be shipped to East Africa where Connecticut National Guard troops serve.
This is the largest Connecticut National Guard deployment since 2009. The more than 600 soldiers trained for months during the pandemic for this mission.
“I feel like it’s a very personal expedition this year because it seems like everyone knows someone who is deployed to Africa right now,” Gauvin said. “I expect many friends and families of our local troops to show their support.”
Boxes to Boots was created in 2016 by Karen Cote. She began sending overseas care packages every Thanksgiving after her son was deployed to Kuwait in 2015. She sent 125 boxes to her son’s unit in his first year of operation. The organization has grown steadily since, with more and more packages being sent each year.
“It’s just amazing… it makes you feel good, as a military mom,” Côté said on the Boxes to Boots website.
Berlin State Representative Donna Veach presented Boxes to Boots with an official citation from the Connecticut General Assembly at the end of May, thanking volunteers for their selfless dedication and commitment to supporting staff military.
To learn more, visit boxtoboots.org., Email [email protected] or call 860-348-3130.
[email protected]: @n_korytnikova