Support group gathering care package for deployed troops

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Supporters of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 846th Transportation Company are collecting items to send to the troops.
The 846th, based in Salisbury, is in the midst of its second tour in southwest Asia. The military doesn’t release the unit’s exact location.
Members of the 846th’s Family Readiness Group are holding a pair of collection drives in Rowan County in coming weeks.
The first of those drives is being held at the headquarters of the Salisbury Public Library on West Fisher Street. It kicked off Friday and will continue through Sept. 12.
The second collection drive is being held at the South Rowan YMCA on Kimball Street in China Grove. It starts Saturday and continues through Sept. 11.
According to Jennifer Welch, team leader of the 846th’s Family Readiness Group, the goal is to present all 170 unit members with care packages. Those packages, Welch said, will include both practical and fun items.
Welch’s husband, Richard, is a sergeant in the 846th.
On Sept. 13, supporters will gather to assemble the care packages at the Reserve Center on Jake Alexander Boulevard. Members of the Family Readiness Group are partnering with the Hefner VA Medical Center, the Eastern Rowan Democrats and Food Lion to sponsor this event.
The boxes will be packed that afternoon and a meal served to all volunteers.
Welch said the Family Readiness Group faces significant shipping charges for each package รณ up to $10.95. Donors interested in helping with the expense can purchase pre-made shipping stamps at the post office in $1 or $4.60 increments.
They should be placed in sealed envelopes before putting them in a collection box. Personal greetings and greeting cards from the public will also be accepted.
Here are a few of the items that soldiers have requested:
Beef jerky, individual packs of cheese and crackers, foot powder, potato chips in tins, individual detergents and fabric softeners, pain medication like Tylenol, phone cards, cereal and granola bars, Cheerwine and Sun Drop, small pack of baby wipes, small bottles of hand sanitizers, Chap Stick, toothpaste, dental floss, eye drops, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, canned items like soup and Vienna sausages, white socks, pens and pencils, and CDs, DVDs and video games.
Items not to send include:
Alcoholic beverages, fruits, live plants, pork and pork by-products, sex-oriented magazines, religious materials contrary to the Islam faith, firearms or ammunition, cash and flammable materials.
“Use common sense and realize that packages can be subjected to high heat and bouncing around,” reads an e-mail that Welch is distributing. “Use Ziploc bags and lots of padding where applicable.”
Like members of Salisbury’s other unit, the 991st, members of the 846th are involved in transporting anything the military has.
“You name it, they haul it,” Welch said.