SPRINGFIELD — A local radio station partners with Family Pharmacy to send care packages to soldiers overseas for Christmas.
John Kimmons is the Program Director at 105.1 The Bull. He can’t say enough about the students who help bring Christmas to soldiers deployed overseas.
“You’re talking about elementary kids filling shoe boxes for soldiers they don’t know, showing their love all the way around the world. It really is incredible. It’s those kids that fill those boxes,” Kimmons says.
The boxes fill the lobby at the station. They are stuffed with things like snacks, games, and hygiene products, simple things that soldiers can use when they arrive.
“Tomorrow morning we will load all the shoe boxes from the lobby,” Kimmons explains. “We are going to take them down to Family Pharmacys’ corporate headquarters. That is where the ‘Shoebox for Soldiers’ organization will go through the boxes and get them ready to go overseas.”
Bryan James is an on-air personality at the radio station. He has been going to elementary schools to pick up the boxes from the students.
“I’m doing a little bit of the grunt work, making sure that the boxes have everything they need on our end,” James says.
His favorite part of this operation is the unity that comes out of it.
“It’s just seeing the elementary schools come together,” says James. “We have schools from Exeter, Billings, Willard, Aurora, and even a couple of homeschool groups.”
Kimmons says every box is meant to bring cheer to a soldier who otherwise may not be getting anything at all.
“They try to ship the shoe boxes to people who don’t receive packages,” he says. “The goal is to send them to soldiers, who may not be getting packages from home for whatever reason.”
Perhaps even greater than the gifts the soldiers receive are the heartfelt messages from the students.
“We got a letter back last year from a soldier,” Kimmons says. “He had carried that letter with him from December until March until he returned home to send me an email just to say thank you so much for what you have done.”
For more information or questions about the “Shoebox for Soldiers” operation, please contact “Shoebox for Soldiers” coordinator Brian Bingham at: firstname.lastname@example.org