Care Packages to Troops Overloads System



Care Packages to Troops Overloads System
By: Amy Jacquin

(Cape Girardeau, MO)--Many of you want to show support for our troops by donating care packages.  But too much of a good thing has glutted the system, and the government says "no more, please!"

So what happens with all the itmes collected?  And what can you do to support our troops?

The American Red Cross used to be the main agency used to funnel care items to servicemen and women overseas. But that changed as of Friday.

"We were told the pipeline is closed," says Ron McCubbin of the Red Cross.  "There has been an overwhelming support, and the system is backlogged. As usual, the people of America have opened their hearts and donated quite a lot."

The military doesn't want to tie-up their resources trying to deliver packages during war time. Also, the postal system is backlogged with scanning packages to make sure they're safe. They also explain that care packages, especially from anonymous donors, pose a security risk.   Plus, "US Central Command" says the troops have enough items to last *four* months!

"If you have a current project going on, close it now," explains Ron.  "Collect the items, and bring it to us to we can log it into the pipeline."

Everything currently collected will be sent... but no new items are being accepted.  So if you still want to help, support a serviceman or woman's family instead.

"In addition to reservists and national guardsmen, we've also had inactive reserves called up, and they're not connected to a unit," says Ron. "And retired reserves called up, and they're not connected to a unit. So their families have no support. We're trying to identify all these families and gather them under the same umbrella, so we can then offer support."

"You can help a soldier by supporting their family back at home, so that way they don't have to worry about their family being taken care of, on top of everything else," adds Pam Gray with the Army Reserve Center in Cape.

That center is still accepting care items, but they will be mailed only to the 27 soldiers from this unit... who are still waiting in this country to be deployed. Anything more than 27 soldiers can use will be forwarded to the Red Cross for distribution.

The military is even discouraging sending items to a specific person, even if you know their military address, just because the system is so back-logged.   It's taking a letter longer than 5 weeks to go between the U.S. and Kuwait... and care packages much longer. 

The postal system will still process your request, but it's likely to be long-delayed.  And again, the military is requesting you to funnel support through other organizations.  The system was shut down once already this year, before the war began, and stayed closed for five weeks... so the Red Cross is estimating this closure to remain in effect for a couple of months at least.

The Red Cross also needs volunteers to man the "emergency contact" phone lines after hours.  This is a service for all military families in our area. 

And another way to help is by donating blood.  It takes three days to process blood before it can be used, no exceptions.  So we need to prepare ahead of time for any possible emergencies.  The military has a blood service contract, but relies on the Red Cross when supplies are low.

While donating money is not as glamorous as care packages, it's likely to do the most good right now.  There are various military aid organizations to assist you.  And you can find other specific alternatives to care packages, by clicking here .

To make contact with Fort Campbell, KY -- click on the following link:

Scroll down to the "on-post activities and services" section, then click on "family readiness" or call 270-798-3849.