BERLIN — Boxes to Boots, a locally based non-profit group, provides troops overseas a piece of home each holiday season.
The organization is seeking donations from the public to ship out 700 Hero Boxes to troops deployed in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq.
“We know to some of our soldiers, this is the only connection to home that they have,” Boxes to Boots president Kristen Gauvin said.
The 700 boxes on average cost $25 each, which means the goal for the organization is $17,500.
Boxes to Boots is also holding a fundraiser selling Flags of Appreciation for $10 and the flags will be personalized and displayed in Veteran's Memorial Park on Veterans Day. Proceeds will go toward the mailing costs for the care packages being sent overseas to troops this holiday season.
Boxes to Boots is also accepting monetary and other donations. Visit boxestoboots.org to see an Amazon wishlist of items or click on ‘Donate Now’ to make a cash donation. People can purchase items and they will be delivered to 39 Mill St. starting Sept. 28 with a collection box set up outside the office. Starting Oct. 1, Boxes to Boots will be open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to collect donations.
Boxes to Boots will be holding its annual "Giving Thanks to our Troops" event on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New Britain Bees stadium in New Britain. The event drew more than 800 people last year.
“It means so much to the veterans and it’s a special day for so many,” Gauvin said. “It gives you a sense of patriot pride and a lot of people don’t leave our event with a dry eye. You leave knowing you made an impact on at least one person.”
Boxes to Boots will be setting up at the stadium so families can drive up to a table with items and will come to them to take their pictures. Donors will be asked to decorate their cars in a patriotic way to honor veterans in attendance.
“We are worried about not having enough donations this year because we usually get a lot of support from schools,” Gauvin said. “I think the best part of our organization is to watch the amazing community come together and help us collect care package items and raise funds for shipping costs. It truly takes strength in numbers to make our goals possible. Boxes to Boots has accomplished many amazing things over the years and I’m making it my personal mission to kept us extraordinary.”
Gauvin replaced founder and former Boxes to Boots president Karen Cote over the summer. She volunteers with her son Liam. The organization has about 50 volunteers.
Adelbrook Transitional Academy in Newington will be making 600 cards for the troops and decorating the zip lock bags that will be included in the boxes for the troops.
For more information, call (860) 348-3130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Darcy Arute at email@example.com or Andra Millerd at firstname.lastname@example.org.