The Bristol Press – Boxes to Boots prepares 800 care packages for troops

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NEW BRITAIN – Berlin-based non-profit Boxes to Boots held its Operation Cares 2021 event at the New Britain Stadium on Saturday, where around 1,000 people participated in activities to prepare medical care packages to be sent to the military Americans, men and women abroad.

“We are sending care packages overseas to our deployed men and women and today we are sending 800 care packages to Africa and Honduras and they will arrive in time for our troops to open on Christmas Day,” he said. said Boxes to Boots President Kristen Gauvin. “It’s a way to bring the community together to show our support for our troops and to let them know that they are not forgotten and that they are loved and supported. ”

She noted that the holidays were sometimes difficult for families, but were particularly difficult for those actively serving in the military, as they were away from their families and often in hostile environments.

“They sacrifice so much for our freedom and it’s the least we can do for them,” Gauvin said, “and send them comfort items. This year we focused on a lot of snacks like energy drinks, protein bars, toys and lots of candy.

The president said troops stationed in Honduras, for example, might not have access to foods like peanut butter and tuna. One of the units in Africa requested sardines and hot sauce, she said.

“We are having a party in honor of our soldiers today,” said Gauvin. The music was played by John Cadillac Saville of iHeartRadio for the care package pickers.

“I think we’re going to have over 1,000 people today and Connecticut National Guard family members here as well,” she said. “Six hundred of our care packages today go to each of our Connecticut National Guardsmen deployed in Africa.”

The president said she had seen local sports teams and boy scout groups helping with the preparation of the package among other civic organizations.

The president said photos were taken of people helping with package preparation and included in the boxes with a card addressed to their respective troop so they could see who was supporting them.

Boxes to Boots was founded in 2015 by Karen Côté. His son was deployed to Kuwait, Gauvin said, and because of that, Côte decided to pack care packages for him and the rest of his unit. In 2016, Cote used the space in the Berlin VFW to help prepare more packages for more troops with the help of others. Gauvin noted that the organization’s mission and support continued to grow in popularity and reach.

Carol Zesk, volunteer, and Kathy Kalentkowski, Gauvin’s mother, both said they were proud to be a part of the event and of Gauvin.

“He’s grown so much since he started,” Kalentkowski said. “It has become so much more than the base from which it started. ”

“This is my first time here and I was just blown away by the volunteers, the donations and the atmosphere,” Zesk said. “It makes you proud to be an American.”

While many civilians and families helped with the packing efforts, some veterans were also among supporters of Operation Cares.

“I’m here to support, bring out a humvee and belong to a military-oriented automobile club. We come to events like this to support our brothers and sisters in arms, ”said Tony Miceli, who said he served in the US Air Force security forces for 23 years.

“I think it’s wonderful that after 21 years of war, we still have patriotism at this level,” he said of veteran support after the US withdrew from Afghanistan. “It really makes us feel appreciated when in other conflicts the troops were not well received. It’s nice and gives you the warm feeling you have of people coming out of their lives and busy days on a cold, quick morning and doing that.

Miceli said when serving overseas, it was difficult to be away from his family during the holidays.

“These packages really mean a lot, even if they are tiny to us (at home),” he continued, “but they are monumental abroad.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Sunday, November 7, 2021 19:16. Update: Sunday November 7, 2021 7:19 pm.


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