BERLIN – A local non-profit is at it again, sending care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas.
Berlin-based Boxes to Boots is dedicated to mailing love and thanks to troops in the form of cards, goodies, and supplies. The organization is currently preparing for its annual Christmas shipment - the biggest one of the year - and is seeking the community’s help to collect items and monetary donations.
Socks, energy bars, hygiene products, cards, and small games are a welcome reprieve for soldiers missing their loved ones while far from home. The full list of items needed can be found on the Boxes to Boots website. The organization has an Amazon wishlist and Walmart registry.
Boxes to Boots also hopes to receive monetary donations. It costs $20 to ship each package and with about 800 boxes on hand, the organization hopes to find sponsors and receive community’s help in raising the money.
“Sometimes our care packages are the only connection that some of our military personnel have,” said President Kristen Gauvin.
Gauvin also hopes to recruit volunteers for the packaging event on Nov. 6 at New Britain Bees stadium. Last year, Boxes to Boots sent 700 Christmas packages along with an additional 350 throughout the rest of the year.
Berlin Upbeat, Berlin High School, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts, Adelbrook Transitional Academy, and local church groups are just some of the volunteers that help Boxes to Boots.
Although packages will be distributed across the globe, this year the majority of boxes will be shipped to eastern Africa where Connecticut National Guard troops are serving.
It is the single largest deployment of the Connecticut National Guard since 2009. The more than 600 soldiers have been training for months through the pandemic for this mission.
“I feel like it’s a very personal shipment this year because it seems like everyone knows someone that’s deployed in Africa right now,” said Gauvin. “I expect many friends and families of our local troops to show their support.”
Boxes to Boots was established in 2016 by Karen Cote. She began sending care packages overseas every Thanksgiving after her son was deployed to Kuwait in 2015. She sent 125 boxes to her son's unit in her first year of operation. The organization has been growing ever since, with more and more packages being sent every year.
"It's just been amazing... it just makes you feel good, as a military mom," stated Cote on the Boxes to Boots website.
Berlin State Rep. Donna Veach presented Boxes to Boots with an official citation from the Connecticut General Assembly at the end of May, thanking volunteers for their selfless dedication and commitment to supporting military personnel.
To learn more visit boxestoboots.org., email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-348-3130.