Saturday, July 18, 2015 saw the end of an era as approximately 30 volunteers from Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin joined us at our corporate office in Columbia, MO, to be a part of the Care Package Project's final pack day. The theme for this final pack day was "Help Our Troops Beat the Heat This Summer," and each care package contained high-electrolyte drink tablets and Frogg Togg cooling towels in addition to snacks, toiletries, and letters of support from individuals across America.
As usual, a great time was had by all who attended pack day and the time flew by. As the day drew to an end, a sense of nostalgia hung in the air as the volunteers began to leave. Some chose to stick around after pack day to enjoy a pizza lunch, reminisce about the pack days they've attended over the years, and bid farewell to the friends they've made in that time. It wasn't all sad, however, as everyone seemed excited about the organization returning to its roots.
We spoke to some of our long-time volunteers to get their thoughts on the Care Package Project coming to a close and about the new direction we’re heading. “I think it’s a natural progression to close one chapter and begin a new one,” said Angie R., “Marine Parents was designed to provide information and going back to its roots is going to be very beneficial to Marine families. While it’s a bit of a sad day, I was glad to be a part of this and to help pack boxes one last time. A lot of hands and love have gone into these boxes over the years.”
Volunteers John S. and Steve C., two of the longest-serving pack day volunteers, echoed Angie’s sentiments. “It’s kind of a bummer,” said John, “I always had fun coming out here and making things happen. Pack days were always something I looked forward to. It’s time to move in a new direction though.” “The reduced need for packages is actually a good thing,” said Steve, “it means less Marines are deployed and in harm’s way.”
While this was the last of the Care Package Project’s pack days, there will still be opportunities for our pack day volunteers to get together and see old friends. Volunteer Sandy D., another long-serving volunteer, suggested that each November we hold a pack day reunion to coincide with the Marine Corps’ birthday, an idea that was met with much enthusiasm and support from staff and volunteers alike.
We'd like to thank everyone who has made our pack days so special over the last 10 years and hope to see you in November!
Find more photos like this on MarineParents: Marine Family Network (MFN)
*All photos credit of Daniel Abodeely