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Rochester School Sends Care Packages Overseas

August 23, 2017 08:08 AM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - Local and National Golf Benefit “Tee It Up for the Troops” is kicking off on Thursday, August 24th in Rochester. As part of the National Golf Outing and fundraiser, a local school initiative is playing a role.

Operation Hometown Gratitude is a Rochester Public School District effort that sends care packages to local troops overseas. Since 2005, over 18,000 care packages have been packed and shipped to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The contents can range from toiletries, candy, popcorn, coffee, and even some more playful gems like nerf balls and costumes.

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The operation is a true community effort. Even the boxes the goodies are shipped in are decorated by the younger students.

“As soon as the care package comes in, they can see that children have been practicing their artwork on it…quite often we’ll hear that once the care package is emptied they’ll flatten the box and hang it up,” said Adult Adviser for Operation Hometown Gratitude, Gary Komaniecki.

For the past three years, the group has been partnering with Tee It Up for the Troops and aiding in the event set up. This year, kids from Mayo High School and Century High School will be setting up a display of American flags along the golf course a day before the event.

“We’re kind of mutually beneficial. We help them out with things like that and they give us funds that we use for sending off care packages…so we can expect a visit from them early fall,” Komaniecki said.

According to Operation Hometown Gratitude organizers, each care package cost $17.35 to ship overseas. Funding received from Tee It Up for the Troops also aids in buying the actual items placed in each care package.

Student Leader Ben Newbegin said that often times they receive letters or emails, thanking the group for the package and what a difference it made to them.

“Some of them are…how they liked what we sent them and how appreciative they for what we sent them…it feels good that you talked to that guy and you know that you sent him stuff,” Newbegin said.


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