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Blue Star Moms bring Christmas to local soldiers serving overseas
Volunteers put together care packages to send to local soldiers serving in iraq and Afghanistan. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal
Over 500 boxes were stuffed with toothbrushes, Nerf balls, and cans of refried beans Tuesday with the help of 100 volunteers. Their goal: To send some holiday cheer to those fighting for our country.
“We have everything you can imagine,” said Debbie Katsounakis, president of the Modesto Blue Star Moms and Families.
Toiletries, toys and food were donated by a host of individuals and organizations including the New Life Christian Church in Turlock, Dollar Tree, and the Modesto Rotary. Hilmar High School also donated over 1,000 items for the care packages to send to the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The packages will be sent to over 70 soldiers who are from Stanislaus County and who are now fighting in war, Katsounakis said. Each soldier will be receiving about six boxes all filled with food, toys and toiletries, with one box being a special box for Christmas. The special Christmas box will give them each a stocking and some presents.
“It is very heart-warming for people to remember our soldiers that are serving,” she said.
After one local soldier told his mother how cold it is in the Middle East right now, the Blue Star Moms decided to add some hats and gloves to the packages to keep the soldiers warm.
“Right now people are financially hurting, but these are the most donations we have ever received,” Katsounakis said.
Along with the care package items, the money to pay for the shipping of the boxes has also been donated, said Katsounakis. It will cost about $5,500 for all the boxes to be shipped using the flat rate boxes from the U.S. Postal Office. The care packages will be shipped out to the soldiers today.
With little to no room inside the JD Vierra Limited warehouse in Modesto, where the boxes were being packed, about 100 volunteers managed to squeeze their way in to help put the boxes together.
“This is the most volunteers we have ever gotten,” Katsounakis said. “Usually there are about 25 volunteers and there are over 100 people here tonight.”  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.