Fredonia’s Tau Sigma National Honor Society for transfer students has been involved with the Care Packages for the Troops program since 2012. Tau Sigma’s mission is to recognize and promote the academic excellence and involvement of transfer students on campus and in our community. According to Helen Leysath, Transfer Coordinator and Advisor, the Veteran’s Recognition Committee was searching for ways to offer more student involvement. Since many veterans on campus are transfer students, a community service project which helped veterans seemed like the perfect match.
Helen Leysath, contacted the Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie Chapter and explained Fredonia’s interest in helping them collect items for their packages. A tent was set up outside of Fredonia’s Walmart in late October and customers were handed slips of paper highlighting needed items as they entered the store. Customers dropped off bags and cash donations on their way out.
Fredonia’s program has grown over the years, now including participation from the Veteran’s Student Group and members from Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society from Jamestown Community College. This year over $870 was collected and a very full car load of items! Hundreds of volunteers work together to package the items on the first Saturday of December. The Blue Star Mothers were able to send 796 packages to our deployed troops this year thanks to the generous donations and volunteer efforts from our residents of Chautauqua County.
This is a wonderful way to say thanks to our service men and women and make their holidays a little brighter. Although no thanks is needed, hearing back from our care package recipients reinforces why we help those who serve: “The time and effort that your group puts in to these gifts and all the other things you do for the service members is looked at in high regards. You all go over and above for us and for that we are extremely grateful and appreciative. In a time and place of war, it is really heartwarming to have people like yourselves that really make the holiday season much better and enjoyable for us here.”
Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.