Packages Offer Aid and Comfort to the Troops - Operation Christmas Care Packages
The Orange County Register | By Orange County Register
Operation Christmas Care Packages
When Marines return to Camp Pendleton after being abroad, they usually arrive home to an empty barrack with nothing but a bed.
“They don’t have any toiletries because they have to leave them behind for the remaining soldiers,” said Cynthia Martinez, president and founder of Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise, a San Clemente-based volunteer organization. “We assemble these bags for them so they can come home and just take a shower and be comfortable.”
Martinez, along with volunteers from her San Clemente neighborhood and from the Woman’s Ministry at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gathered last Thursday and assembled 250 kits containing toiletries and snacks that they intend to give to 50 Marines of Easy Company Amphibious Assault Unit returning to Camp Pendleton around Christmas.
The kits include soap, shaving cream, disposable razors, deodorant, a wash cloth, a toothbrush and toothpaste. The kits are specially made for the Marines and feature the words “We support you.”
The volunteers, including Irvine Girl Scouts, also baked more than 22,000 cookies.
“We’re pinpointing a specific need,” said Barbara Smith, a volunteer. “That’s what so helpful about this. It’s the little things like being able to take a nice shower or having some home-baked cookies that give us comfort.”
Martinez has been supporting troops and their families since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was so devastated at what happened to our country,” said Martinez. “I said, ‘God, show me how to pray effectively,’ and I was inspired to write a book offering words of comfort, hope and promise. People were living in fear.”
The book was Martinez’s first project of troop support. Her organization has sent more than 4,000 copies of the book to Iraq, as well as to families of people in the armed forces.
Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise also supports troops during deployment by sending them food, blankets and beanies.
“We also have social events for the families of our troops,” said Martinez. “We just had a huge beach party back in September. And then we had a pamper party for women, with makeovers, massage therapists, free jewelry, everything.”
Martinez said this is her full-time job and she loves it.
“I’m just very thankful and honored to support our troops and their families,” she said. “They’re taking care of us, and we want to take care of them.”
Operation Christmas Care Packages is an annual program hosted by WOCHP, in collaboration with other organizations. With the support of volunteers and contributors, we are able to come together to create care packages for military personnel overseas who are unable to spend Christmas with their families. Please donate to Operation Christmas Care Packages to keep this great program going each year, and to touch the lives of our brave men and women overseas.
December 11, 2008