Holiday packages to 15,000 Fort Bragg soldiers and Pope Air Force Base airmen, deployed overseas, will be on the way soon thanks to Fayetteville Cares and hundreds of individuals and businesses helping make the shipment a possibility.
"Our main goal is to make it a community project," said Joanne Chavonne, co-chairwoman of Fayetteville Cares, a community based organization that provides support to military personnel and their families. "Most people in this community want to do something for the military, they just don’t know how or what."
This holiday initiative, and other projects the non-profit organizes, enlists the help of residents wanting to support the men and women serving their country in the military.
According to Chavonne, the number 15,000 was settled on because that’s the number of troops that Fort Bragg and Pope AFB officials estimate will be deployed during the holidays.
Community volunteers will pack the Priority Mail boxes the week of November 9. Each box will contain 10 to 12 items including a personal note of thanks from someone in the community — many written by children — as well as instructions on how to register in a sweepstakes to win a 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt.
"We’ve been meeting with the Fayetteville Main Post Office staff to coordinate this shipment," said Chavonne. "This is a huge undertaking on every level — collecting and staging the gift items, packing the boxes and mailing them."
"When you’re deployed, any reminder of home is more than welcome," said Fort Bragg’s garrison commander, Col. Stephen J. Sicinski.
Although this is a Fayetteville-based initiative, anyone can help. Individuals or businesses can sponsor a box for $25 by logging onto http://www.fayettevillecares.org/ohc.php
. The estimated the cost of the project — including what donated items would have cost — is between $400,000 and $500,000.