Posted by Shinku Sharma on Dec 17, 2016
Community Service project: Assembling Care Packages.
On November 4, 2016, Saratoga Rotary Club made more than 320 care packages for active troops serving overseas in areas of conflict. 52 Rotarians and some guests were involved in this effort. 
SRCF gave $1,500 for supplies for care packages. We bought beef jerky, power bars, nuts, fruit roll ups, socks, batteries and chap sticks with these funds. Our own Julie Herndon donated toothbrushes and toothpaste. We were able to get decks of playing cards and hygiene products donated. Rotarians wrote cards of thanks and gratitude to the troops and they included in each care package.
Some of the Rotarians who have served in military were nostalgic about their own experiences. Gary Brandenberg spent two years on an aircraft carrier in the Far East. He said that care packages are a gift from home, and a reminder that people care, and you are not forgotten. Paul Hernandez said he got Red Cross packages when he was in army. Care packages are a really good idea especially for those who don’t have a lot of family collection.
We had several speakers including Rinkoo Nat, a local businesswoman whose son is serving overseas. She poignantly spoke about how her son has not been home for four christmasses and three thanksgivings. She said that receiving these care packages gives troops a boost and lets them know that they are loved. She has a year round donation box set up at the UPS office in downtown Saratoga for community members to give and ensures that all donations are shipped to the troops.
Alison Hughes, a director at Operation Care and Comfort was very thankful to the Club and Foundation for donation. This group is made up of volunteers only.
I am very thankful to my team who helped with shopping, pre-assembly, and set up:
Geeta Arunkumar, Sean Haalz, Reiko Iwanaga, James Lindsay, Sangita Seshadri, Cathie Thermond, Carol Yuan, and my mom. And a big thank you to everyone for helping with clean up.
Here are some photos of the event for you to enjoy.