For Cape Elizabeth resident Andrea Glazier, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are personal.
Glazier’s 20-year-old nephew, Arron Thompson from Oklahoma, was called to Iraq earlier this year. Glazier, who moved to Cape Elizabeth in late 2007 from Idaho, said she felt compelled to help soldiers in those wars.
She decided to spearhead a gift-giving campaign through the Massachusetts organization CarePacks, which accepts donated goods to give to soldiers serving abroad. In February, Glazier, along with more than 20 kids at Pond Cove School, began accepting items for the Cape Kids Who Care Goods Drive, in association with CarePacks, to accept donations from Cape residents to ship to soldiers.
Glazier, who is also being helped by fellow Cape resident Elizabeth Lomma, recently sat down with the Current to talk about her involvement, what it means to her and how every day people can help support U.S. troops.
Q: What made you get involved in this?
A: My nephew just got sent over to Iraq, and we were trying to come up with ways to have Cape kids get involved with the community and I thought why not get in contact with some New England chapter and see if we can send some care packs over to the troops because my nephew really appreciated anything that was sent to him. After several phone calls, I got in touch with the appropriate person at CarePacks. Once we get all of this together, everything has to get sent and taken down to Massachusetts.
Q: How did you find out about CarePacks?
A: A gal at work has a husband in the air force, and she was telling me that he knew who to contact. She told me they were on the Internet. I had called the Army recruiting office and just went from there. It’s not easy to get it started. You need to know who to call and what the right questions are to ask.
Q: What kind of items can people donate?
A: Well, they have a Web site, www.carepacks.org, which lists the items. They can donate dry goods. They can’t donate something like pork or chicken or anything like that. They can donate chips, cookies, snack foods. Everybody seems to want to donate toiletries. When I talked to the CarePacks gentleman, he said white athletic socks are really important because when they are in their Army and military boots, to keep healthy feet, nice and clean white socks work the best, and they are hard to come by. I am really pushing the sock thing.
Q: How much time have you spent on organizing this?
A: Initially, probably just four hours. We’ve just got a few drop-off points right now.
Q: How did you choose the drop-off points?
A: We chose Pond Cove School right where the kids come in, and we had it advertised through the school newsletters and through the middle school. We also have a drop off at Cape Elizabeth Community Center.
Q: Is this the first time you have ever volunteered?
A: Yes. It’s been fun. I kind of wish we had some older children too to bring more enthusiasm to kind of mentor the younger kids because they can kind of grasp some of the things we were trying to relay to them. But they are learning about giving. One hour, however, is not enough. We meet for one hour every other Monday just for sessions and it goes by real quick.
Q: How difficult has it been?
A: Not difficult at all. The kids are easy and they want to be here.
Q: How much fun has it been?
A: It’s been fun, but like I said, I wish there had been more donations, and I wish we had more time because I feel like we’re rushed.
Q: How important are drives such as this?
A: I know it’s important. I’ve talked with my nephew and they go out on these night military missions and they have to have stuff to keep them energized. I think with everything that has gone on in the last few months around the world, I don’t know if the troops feel like they might be getting lost with all the news coverage going on. The presidential elections, the economy, we need to realize that we’ve still got guys over there doing their job. They’d still like to hear from us.
Q: What has the response been like from people who have seen you and know you’ve been doing this?
A: I am in a book club in our neighborhood and a few women have donated items. They think it’s neat, but I also know it’s tough right now for a lot of people to really give charitable items.
Q: If people want to donate, how do they go about doing it?
A: We have this drop off location here at Pond Cove Elementary and there is a drop off box at the Community Center. In two weeks, on April 27, we are going to meet here at Pond Cove and box up everything so people can drop off items up until then.
Cape Elizabeth resident Andrea Glazier has spent the past few months working with Pond Cove School students in Cape Elizabeth to collect items to send to United States soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.