Schools make Veterans Day donations
Helping a sick or wounded soldier overseas may be as easy as looking under your bathroom sink.
Students and faculty in the Basehor-Linwood school district have been collecting toiletry items for hospitalized soldiers as a part of Mission Together Lending Comfort. Amy Stroud, secretary at the Sixth Grade Center, launched the effort in the district last month after her husband Maj. Shawn Stroud sent an e-mail from Baghdad expressing need.
"I just put it out to the different schools," Stroud said. "I thought it might be a good service project for Veterans Day to show them we care about them."
Maj. Stroud began his year deployment to Iraq in August. Since then, as a public affairs officer, he has been broadcast from Baghdad on The Johnny Dare Morning Show on 98.9, to tell people in the Kansas City area what is really going on overseas.
His e-mail said that while the soldiers are receiving great care at the 28th Combat Surgical Hospital in Baghdad, it is difficult to get many basic items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant and shampoo and the hospital is in short supply.
"I realize there are many worthy causes, but this is one cause that has a direct impact on the morale and personal hygiene of your service members," Stroud said in the e-mail.
Teachers at the different schools have volunteered to collect items from students and staff and deliver them to Amy, who will mail them to her husband on or shortly after Veterans Day. He will then deliver the packages to the hospital. Art teacher Rebecca Graham, who has been collecting items at the high school, said the response from students and staff has been excellent.
"Sometimes I'll come in and my desk will be full," Graham said.
Students in her seminar class also took the time Tuesday morning to write cards of encouragement and thanks to soldiers to include in the Mission TLC care packages.
Some students, such as Tiffany Waxmonski, senior, gathered items from home like extra toothbrushes and unopened toothpaste. Others, like Colton Metzinger, senior, chose to give a monetary donation.
"If they need it, it's almost an obligation for us to give it to them," Metzinger said about donating items to soldiers. "It's pretty important that we at least do something to help."
Stroud said that any money donated will help cover the cost of mailing the packages. After sending several packages to her husband, she said the most economical way to send items is in flat-rate boxes, which are $8 each. Stroud said she will spend any leftover money on phone cards for the soldiers.
Stroud encourages students and faculty to bring in items by Friday, but late donations will be accepted. She said that if there is an abundance of donations, the hospital will begin putting the items on the shelf for future patients so all donations are greatly appreciated.
"These are things we take for granted," Stroud said. "Every little bit helps."