Monday, December 05, 2005

URGENT - Christmas In Iraq: A Practical Way To Help Our Troops Celebrate The Season In Style

I have written often about my friend, Captain Kevin Stacy, who is serving his second deployment in Iraq. Kevin called me last week during his time of R&R back in the U.S. I discussed with him an idea that came to me from the family of another soldier. My idea was to invite readers of this Blog to mail a small box to Kevin in Iraq. Kevin has agreed to coordinate making sure that the boxes that arrive are given to the soldiers most in need – those without families and those whose families are not in a position to send Christmas gifts.

I would like to propose that we contact friends and neighbors and make sure that each one of the soldiers has a box to open on Xmas day!!

Here are the details, if you choose to participate:

1) Purchase a Flat rate box from the nearest U.S. Post office. Whatever you send it in costs $7.70. The box is called a flat rate box. It costs nothing at the post office. It is small - 12 x 14 x 4 - so it is slightly larger than a large telephone book.

2) Fill your box with fun stuff for Christmas and a card or note to a soldier and send it to Kevin.

Kevin has suggested the following items as the most practical and the most appreciated:

“Guys LOVE chocolate, magazines, hygiene products...those sorts of things, CD’s of popular music groups and artists, personally-mixed CD’s.”

(ALC personal note: I know that many of the troops chew Copenhagen tobacco!)

3) Mark the side of the box as follows:

Put on the side of the box "Gift, male, person who likes fishing, country and western music, etc."

This should be put on the 4 inch side of the box.

If you are sending baked goods, mark it "Baked Goods" or "Fun food for party"

If you are sending decorations, mark it "Xmas Decorations" on the side of the box.

4) Check the place on the box that says "Abandon box...." because what this really means is that in case of any problems with delivery within Iraq, the package will be given to some soldier there rather than being returned eventually to you as the sender.)

5) Address to:

CPT Kevin Stacy
P 4/3 ACR
Camp Sykes, Iraq
APO AE 09379

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE – It will take 10 days for the boxes to arrive in Iraq from the U.S., so packages should be mailed no later than December 14.

No matter how you feel about the politics of the war, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to send a strong personal message of support, encouragement, hope and love to the men and women who are serving in Iraq.

I invite you to share this idea with as many of your circle of family and friends as you wish. Kevin will do a fair and equitable job of distributing the boxes that arrive.

If you decide to send a box, I would like to know about it. Please let me know via e-mail.

Share the joy of the season!

It seems appropriate in concluding this invitation to remind us all of the moving and apt Prayer of Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.

God bless!


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