VMW, VVA Support the Troops Program to send care packages overseas

The Veterans of Modern Warfare Chapter 20 of Jamestown and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 865 Support the Troops Program is looking for addresses for servicemen/women deployed overseas.

They send packages continuously throughout the year, but feel Christmas is a time when the care packages from home can help ease the difficulty of being so far away at a time when families are normally spending time together.

The packages do not bring them home to celebrate but include some of the basic necessities they may normally be without. This year all of the packages will include handmade cards from local children.

Each box has an estimated value of $85. It contains roughly $60 worth of supplies and it costs between $20 and $25 to ship each box. We include items like: Chapstick, eye drops, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, cotton balls, Q-tips, socks, assorted hard candies, granola bars, instant coffee, teabags, trail mix, cookies, pretzels, envelopes, pens, paper and fun stuff too like, games, dice, puzzle books, footballs, baseballs and gloves.

Support the Troops was started so that today’s soldiers could get some comforts of home while they are so far away defending our freedoms and liberties – something that is very important to our Vietnam Veterans as they did not have support when they were fighting.

Every day, the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces set out to protect our freedom and liberty. As we at home enjoy the privileges that are afforded to us due to their continuing hard work, we strive to find ways to convey our appreciation and support.

Fundraising efforts and community donations make it possible for the WMW and VVA to send the care packages filled with supplies and comforts of home to remind them that we are forever grateful for the sacrifices they have made to ensure our rights. As long as they continue to fight, we will continue to support!

As the situation changes and they come home, we will find ways to continue our support mission on our home front here with the VMW and VVA. They will welcome them into our veteran family as we do all veterans.

If you are looking to help support our mission or request a package be sent to someone that is deployed, contact the JVVA Support the Troops Committee, 41 Bigelow Ave., Jamestown, NY 14701, or call 483-6845 or email jvvasot@hotmail.com. You can also find them on Facebook by searching Jamestown Vietnam Veterans Association, Inc.

In order to give support to veterans and servicemen/women the VMW and VVA hold several fundraising events: Annual events; dice runs, Vinnie Day, chili challenge, Veterans Day Bash, Christmas tree/wreath sale, chicken barbecues, pool/corn hole tournaments and 200 Club. Various other events include bake sales, raffles, 50/50 drawings, Chinese auctions, live auctions and more.

On a regular basis veterans and members also attend different veteran functions, conduct flag ceremonies, participate in parades, provide military funeral services as requested and inform veterans and their families of benefits available all at no charge.

The VMW Chapter 20 and VVA Chapter 865 work together to recruit and inform local veterans of benefits, and maintain the integrity that no veteran is left behind or forgotten. The Support the Troops part of the organization is a committee consisting of volunteer members of the VMW Chapter 20 and VVA Chapter 865.

They work continuously year-round conducting various fundraisers to raise funds through benefits, events and asking for donations that enable them to purchase supplies and ship them to our servicemen/women serving overseas.

“Our two veterans’ organizations are dedicated to assisting veteran’s past, present and future,” said Joe Paladino, VMW Chapter 20 president. “We are here if someone needs direction to services, someone to talk to, or just to see brothers and sisters with a common bond, we are here for them because we are in the same situation or have been in a similar situation.”

“Our Support the Troops is here to reach out to servicemen/women to let them know how much they are appreciated, respected and loved here on the home front, and we will be here for them when they return home.”

“These packages being sent are a comfort from home that shows them that the community back home supports them and cares about them. The more we can send, the more comfort they receive and it lets them feel just a little bit closer to home.”

They receive more thank you letters from troops than receive packages and they would like to extend their thanks to those who have donated to fundraisers.

Additional events this year to include:

VMW 200 Club – All proceeds help the VMW provide funds to local veterans and veteran’s families in need of assistance, and mailing packages to troops overseas. This is a day filled with music, food and 50/50’s all for a Great Cause. Tickets for this event were available starting Aug. 1. If interested in a ticket please contact Melodie at 450-6768.

VMW and VVA participation in Annual Jamestown Christmas Parade – A float we put together to honor all past, present and future veterans. We have fun decorating and being a family unit to support each other. We invite local veterans and their families to come see what being part of our family is all about. We are here for all veterans and their families and would love to welcome you to participate with us. Please contact us if you would like to be involved, the parade is Friday, Dec. 6!

Annual Christmas Tree/Wreath Sale – beginning Nov. 30 through Dec. 22 or until sold out. The VMW and VVA sells trees to raise funds for Support the Troops Program. We will be located in front of Harley Davidson of Jamestown who graciously allows us to use their lot.

To submit someone’s information to receive a package, please call Melodie Paladino at 450-6768. In order to mail a package we need: The Rank, Last Name, First Name and complete APO mailing address. Due to confidentiality and privacy restrictions, we are not allowed to call and ask for this information. That is why we are asking for the community’s help in reaching our deployed troops this Christmas season and throughout the year.

For more information on the Veterans of Modern Warfare Chapter 20 contact Joe Paladino, Organization President, at 499-5821. For more information on Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 865 please call local number 483-6845.