HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Volunteers are putting together 3,000 Christmas care packages for the spouses and children of military members at four South Carolina base communities Tuesday and Wednesday.
Support Military Families has done this each holiday season for the past 12 years. Organization co-founder Diane Rumley said the gift giving has grown each year and is about recognizing military family members as well.
“We understand that they really sacrifice on the home front in such a way that a lot of people are unaware of,” Rumley said.
Handwritten notes, toys and a bible, among other things, are inside each care package given to a family.
“We wanted to fill that with a lot of beautiful gift items that would encourage them and let them know that they are so incredibly special,” Rumley said.
Everything is donated from the gifts themselves to the boxes in which they’re packaged and shipped. Donors are everyday people and big corporations and everyone in between.
“We have the simple privilege of being able to connect the giver to the military spouse or child,” Rumley said.
Rumley said Support Military Families only has three staff members, adding that the preparing and sending of care packages would not be possible without volunteers.
“Three people could not get out 3,000 care packages between now and December 3rd but behind Support Military Families are hundreds of volunteers,” Rumley said.
One of the volunteers is Sherry Meloni. Her father served in the U.S. Air Force while she was growing up.
“So I know the importance of when my dad was away on assignments and being at home by ourselves with our mom and my brothers, and it was just a little extra something to get something,” Meloni said.
Meloni said it’s satisfying to pay it forward each year.
“And it’s not monetary necessarily, it’s just the fact that other people are thinking about you and supporting you especially at Christmas time.”
The care packages will be delivered Dec. 3 at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Joint Base Charleston and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Volunteers will be putting together more packages Wednesday. Sign up to volunteer here.