No ‘Blue Christmas’ for troops, thanks to Blue Star Mothers
Rebecca Hattaway Staff Reporter
The holiday season is here and that means Rogers County Blue Star Mothers are busy putting together Christmas packages to send to troops serving overseas.
While Thanksgiving boxes include all the fixings for the traditional meal, Christmas packages are filled with special items like lounge pants and T-shirts, socks and handwarmers, small games, crossword puzzles and magazines.
“We always want to include extra special stuff for Christmas,” said Wanda Inman, Blue Star Mothers president.
“They like a taste of home too, so chocolate is a good thing to send this time of year because it won’t melt. They love chocolate. They said they would even lick it off the package if they had to!”
Soldiers also appreciate receiving cards from children. Inman encourages school classes or church groups to make it a holiday project, letting the troops know that people back home are thankful for their service and sacrifice.
“It’s important, especially during the holidays, that we don’t forget the men and women who are serving our country,” Inman said.
“My son was in Afghanistan, so I know how much it means to them,” Inman said.
That’s what motivates Inman to continue her service with Blue Star Mothers.
“We’re strictly a volunteer organization. Our chapter started in 2008, and it’s been one of the largest in the state,” Inman said.
She and Martha Joslin are two of the original charter members who are still active in the organization today.
While membership is limited to mothers and grandmothers of service men and women, anybody can be an associate and volunteer with the organization.
“The more we can show our support, the more our troops will know they are appreciated — that’s the most important thing,” Inman said.
“We are where we are today because of our military. A lot of them have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. That’s something we can never forget.”
Last Christmas, the chapter sent 200 packages and are planning for another 150-200 this year, with names still coming in. Blue Star Mothers collects items for care packages year around. They try to send boxes once a month.
Donations of care package items or financial contributions are accepted at the following locations: Claremore Daily Progress, Sterling House, ADPRO and The Nut House, or they can be mailed to Rogers County Blue Star Mothers, P.O. Box 14, Claremore, OK 74018.
Basic items always needed are hand wipes, disposable razors, shampoo/conditioner (small), deodorant, toilet paper, tooth paste and mouthwash (small), dental floss, lip balm, Q-tips, and all kinds of snack food, like beef jerky, Fruit Roll-Ups, energy bars, crackers, Ramen Noodles, instant oatmeal packets, small jars of peanut butter, cans of tuna, powder drink mixes and candy.
“Budget cuts have cut one of their meals a day and they don’t have the luxury of running out to McDonald’s or QuikTrip for a bite to eat,” Inman said.
Blue Star Mothers often receive emails and Facebook posts thanking them for the packages, like this one:
“I’m currently deployed to Sharana, Afghanistan and I received a bunch of packages today from you guys. Usually, we aren’t that excited about Blue Star packages from other locations, but you guys by far sent the best packages we have ever got. Just wanted to say thank you for sending us awesome stuff.”
Inman said the chapter’s well-received packages are due to the generosity of the community.
“Because Rogers County has been so giving, we’ve always been able to send our packages,” she said. “We appreciate all the donations we have received over the years — but they’re not home yet.”
Christmas packages will be mailed Dec. 10-15. For more information, call (918) 343-2675 or email email@example.com.