A special Christmas shipment of supplies has already gone out to American troops overseas, thanks to a dedicated group of around a dozen volunteers working with Santa Ynez Support the Troops. The group, founded four years ago by retired Air Force Colonel Pat Sullivan, seeks to deliver necessities and comfort items to soldiers - everything from toothbrushes and soap to international phone cards and beef jerky. “We’re pretty proud of what we’re doing and we’d like more people to know about it,” said Sandra Lindquist on behalf of the group.
While Lindquist and her fellow volunteers successfully sent off 50 boxes this month - each bearing contents valued at about $50 - the group is already looking at next month and encouraging the community to support the effort however it can.
Through the Santa Ynez Support the Troops website, anyone can either pledge money via PayPal or contact volunteers to find out exactly what items are currently needed. (A list of frequently needed items is also on the website.) And not all the items need to be the kind that came with a price tag, as the group also likes to enclose letters of encouragement and thanks to the soldiers.
“We’re going to spend a lot of time this coming year getting other organizations to support us so we can continue,” Lindquist said, noting that recent announcements about the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan meant that she and her colleagues would have work to do for the next few years at least. For Lindquist, gratitude expressed by the soldiers is a fine payoff for her hard work. “We get the most beautiful letters from the soldiers, thanking us for what we’ve done. These kids really appreciate it,” she said.
Those interested in contributing to Santa Ynez Support Our Troops can call Lindquist at (805) 686-7976.