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Local nonprofit benefits troops overseas

BERLIN — Local nonprofit Boxes to Boots is thankful for the community's help in making the holidays a bit brighter for U.S. military personnel serving abroad. In 2022, Boxes to Boots put together and shipped 1,204 care packages to service members in Kuwait, Bahrain, Germany, Africa and Iraq.

Boxes to Boots president Kristen Gauvin said the packages were sent on Nov. 5 and arrived well before Christmas. “In the past, these care packages took several weeks, so when it only took about three weeks, I was so happy,” Gauvin said.

Boxes to Boots was founded in 2016 by Berlin resident and military mom Karen Cote. Gauvin took the reins of the operation in 2020 and continued the organization’s tradition of holding “Giving Thanks To Our Troops” events, where volunteers gather to get the care packages ready to ship. This past November, more than 1,000 people helped.

Bristol resident Jenny Buchas, a Boxes to Boots volunteer, said her son, an Army sergeant serving overseas, ended up with a care package wrapped by his very own loved ones. “My son received a wrapped box from his wife, mother-in-law, myself, and a friend,” Buchas said. “What are the chances out of 1,200 boxes that he opens the one from his family?”

Sgt. Joshua Buchas and his unit were thankful for the packages, and his mother is thankful that her son has since returned home.

Boxes to Boots, located at 28 Chamberlain Highway, is now working on sending out Valentine's Day care packages. Donations should be submitted by Wednesday, Feb. 1. To learn more about the organization and its needs, visit boxestoboots.org.


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