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Wheaton Students, Parents Send 36 Boxes to Soldiers in 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan

A parent inspired by her family's efforts to send necessities to her brother twice a week organizes a packing party to send necessities to 42 soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.

When American soldiers begin a tour overseas, everyday necessities such as razors and toothe paste are no longer easily accessible.

A group of about 30 students and parents filled boxes with toothbrushes, deodorant, snacks and other necessities Tuesday afternoon to send to 36 soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division.

Wheaton mom Erin Meitzler invited other parents to join her efforts in the Wheaton IL Moms Facebook page about a month ago, after her 22-year-old brother began his third tour with the division.

Since he returned to Afghanistan in March, Meitzler said her family has been sending him two boxes a week. In two months, April and May, the Meitzler family would have sent 16 boxes of supplies. Each box costs $16 to ship, she said.

This week, they’ll send more than 30 extras for his comrades after District 200 families and even out-of-state supporters have donated items for our troops.

Meitzler said the collection was in the works when died of wounds sustained in Afghanistan on May 19. Now, she said, the collection is "definitely" in his remembrance.

After adding a "wish list" of items the private Facebook event, members of the community would stop by and fill Meitzler's garage with snacks, toilet paper, razors, toothbrushes, deodorant, toothe paste, shampoo, books, magazines and drawings their children had made.

"They don't have a CVS to go to, so it’s nice to be able to bridge those gaps and get them what they need," she said.

“Wheaton was overly generous with what was donated,” Meitzler said. “The response was overwhelming. People I’d never met before—asking if they could come by and drop stuff off."

She said she even received shipments from Naperville, Virginia and New Jersey.

"This is about the troops and doing something for our kids so they can appreciate the troops.”

Organizations such as the USO, Operation Shoebox and Any Soldier, Inc. offer programs that facilitate sending care packages to troops overseas.

For guidelines for sending a care package to someone serving overseas, visit the U.S. Postal Service website.

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