Basehor residents provide caring in more than adequate amounts
When Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars members called out for residents of the city to donate items for military care packages, they hoped to have a large response.
They didn’t expect, however, to receive such a sum of donations that would leave them wondering how to box and ship it all.
At the beginning of September, the VFW placed donation containers at the Basehor Post Office, Wolf Creek Marketplace, Casey’s General Store, First State Bank and Trust and Hair Mechanix Barber Shop where customers could bring items for care packages that would be shipped through the post office to military personnel overseas. VFW members then posted signs asking for toothbrushes, soap, socks, anything that might be of use to men and women stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Later into the project, bins were also set up at Basehor Elementary School and the Sixth Grade Center.
Within five days, it was apparent the plan would need to be tweaked, said Phil Jenkins, VFW junior vice commander.
“I saw all the items coming in, and I was excited, but I started to get worried,” Jenkins said. “When I looked at the box size the post office offered, I thought, ‘Uh oh, we need to do this another way.’ I just didn’t see how we were going to get all this into those boxes and send them all over. ”
Around Oct. 17, the post will collect all the containers and begin a new mission: airlifting the donated items through the United States Air Force.
Jenkins said the VFW arranged through its membership to have members of the Air Force in St. Joseph, Mo., or Topeka load all the boxed donations and fly them overseas free of charge.
In conjunction with the plan to send care packages, the VFW posted separate fliers at each donation site asking people to provide the names of Basehor military members who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once it knew these names, the VFW could send additional care packages to those men and women and could help family members in Basehor with whatever they needed.
Five names were reported, and those men have already received letters from the VFW. Individual parcels will be shipped to these five people at the expense of the VFW, and the remaining donated items will be boxed all together and flown overseas to be distributed by the receiving unit. Jenkins said the post was crossing its fingers the packages arrived at their destinations before Veterans Day.
The VFW is extremely grateful to all those who donated and to the businesses and schools that allowed containers to be placed outside.
“We as a post were really proud of the citizens of Basehor and the contributions they’ve made,” VFW member Ed Bush said. “They really came through.”
The project was so successful that the VFW decided to make it an annual occurrence. Next year, Bush said, more businesses and schools will be contacted to be sites for collection bins.
“We’re going to continue doing this until the soldiers come home,” Bush said.
Those still wishing to donate may do so at the above locations until Oct. 17.
For more information, contact the Basehor VFW post at (913) 724-3481.