In a time when so many of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and parents are serving the country, it is easy to forget those who serve without any one to support them. When Springfield Masonic Community (SMC) began its Seniors for Soldiers program in September 2011, the staff were asked to give names of soldiers they knew who were serving overseas. It started with a list of 14 young Marines in the same unit who were single and enjoyed the correspondence. The group wrote to them monthly, and sent each one a care package at Christmas time. Just as these young men were coming home, the group was approached by Mr. Kevin Miller, Co-Chair of the Coalition of Independent Citizens. This organization started the “Pack-It-In Project” four years ago, targeting local troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. With donations from the community and SMC, this organization was able to send 180 large priority mail boxes overseas. The packages go out mid-summer, and take into account not only the young men, but also the special needs of young female soldiers. Mr. Miller, at the group’s request, has given SMC a list of 16 soldiers to whom they now write monthly. Already the group has begun collecting donations to fill Christmas packages for these 16 men and women. In early December, the Residents will get together in the Hillman Social Room and assemble the packages to mail in time for Christmas. If you would like to give toward this cause please see below a list of items most requested by the soldiers: 1) non-chocolate candy/ hard candy/gum/vitamin C drops individually wrapped 2) Little Debbie Cakes/cookies, etc. individually wrapped 3) beef jerky 4) toothbrush/toothpaste 5) deodorant-men & women 6) no-scent lotion 7) lip balm 8) wet wipes 9) trail mix 10) protein supplements 11) powdered drink mix-add to bottled water 12) Kleenex 13) paper/pens/paperback books 14) playing cards/handheld games/batteries-mostly AA, AAA 15) CD’s/DVD’s 16) small, unbreakable items to bring a smile to their face 17) unused greeting cards/stamps Donations of empty shoe boxes, money for postage and notes or letters that can be put into the boxes are also welcome. Many prayers go along with the boxes with both the soldiers and the Residents benefitting from this program. In case you are unable to help at this time SMC will also continue to take part in the “Pack-It-In Project” next summer. If you have any questions please call 937-525-3055 and ask for Rita Kight.