Dozens of children and adults from the Kansas City area came together Saturday morning to pack up to 1,000 boxes of care items and goodies for military men and women serving in the Middle East during the holidays.
It’s part of an annual tradition organized by the Wallace R. Bostwick Memorial Fund, a nonprofit organization managed by Andy Ronald, a retired Crestwood executive.
Ronald said the program, in its 10th year, was made possible with the help of hundreds of people.
Children from seven local schools, including the Paseo Academy for the Performing Arts and Pembroke Hill, decorated the gift boxes by hand. The boxes were filled with personal messages and donated gifts for soldiers, including blankets, coffee, vitamins, toothbrushes, socks and candy.
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The boxes are set to be distributed to troops through American Red Cross offices in various military bases in the Middle East, Ronald said.
This year’s “packing party” was held at The Farmer’s House in Westwood, Kan., with area students and parents in attendance.
Pete Kowalewich, a longtime volunteer, said he hopes the gifts give soldiers “a little sense of home.” He was joined by his young daughter, Gretchen.
“It’s a good way to introduce the kids to the spirit of the season and it’s something we end up looking forward to doing every year,” he said.
“My favorite part is probably when you put the card in the box because I like letting them know that they have family here and we will always give them a present,” said 11-year-old Gretchen. “It’s really fun and nice.”