Thursday, April 9, 2009

Seniors Show Gratitude for Troops

Members of the Howard Beach Senior Center spent much of the afternoon of April 2nd creating care packages for our troops fighting abroad. Over the past few months, the center’s members and the community at large donated countless toiletries, sports equipment, snacks, hand-knitted scarves and other items. Last Thursday, the seniors packed up the items into dozens of boxes, which will be shipped to California before they are sent overseas. Rosalie Hawk, administrative assistant at the center, said the response to the drive was “overwhelming.”

The effort began with the donation of dozens of scarves and quickly expanded from there, said Hawk. “We decided we wanted to do something more – I don’t understand how the government doesn’t supply our soldiers,” she said, adding that the seniors really got into the effort. “They think it’s great - anything for the soldiers. You feel like you want to do something but you don’t know what,” she said.

Each box costs about $30 to ship to California, so the center is now focused of raising money to cover that cost. Several local politicians offered to help defray the cost, and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Queens), who stopped by the senior center, made a personal donation.

Pheffer, whose life-partner Glenn Riddell’s son is in Iraq, told the seniors that the troops really appreciate receiving the care packages. “Whatever’s in them it is wonderful,” she said. “It means so much to them – the most exciting thing is getting a care package.”

Top: Lou Mascaro, Irene Shlakman, Rose Stanton and Eleanor Martuscello pack up a box of supplies to be sent to troops fighting overseas. Right: Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer helps Tony Gugliucci use old newspapers to protect the contents of a care package.

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