It’s all about volunteers working together

By From page B1 | December 16, 2013

operation homefrontIt’s all about working together. Last Saturday, Santa’s elves, from the Rolling Hills Blue Star Moms got together to stuff stockings for military children from the Wounded Warrior Project, the 270th Military Police Company, a National Guard unit and 319th EOD, an Army Reserve unit, all located in the Sacramento region.

It all began with a collaboration between Operation HomeFront, a national nonprofit organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families who partnered with Dollar Tree Stores to launch its annual Holiday Toy Drive to collect gifts for military kids.

Added to the mix, was Leslie Wade, mother to Sgt. Billy Wade who is currently serving in Afghanistan.

This connection between a mother and her child serving in the military began the Blue Star Mothers of America organization. Its singular focus is to perpetuate the memory of all the men and women who have served our country as members of the Armed Forces.

Leslie became a member of the local chapter, the Rolling Hills Blue Star Moms, when her son deployed.

The last part added to this project is, Barbara Tears, a Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service representative. She is the liaison for the Rolling Hills Blue Star Moms chapter to the local Veterans Hospital. She is responsible for recruiting volunteers to help and collect donations for the VA facility as well as assist in all military organizations during times of need.

Leslie signed up to be a pick-up volunteer at the Cameron Park Dollar Tree store.

“Our first project together was the Back-to-School Brigade school supply drive. My husband Bill and I picked up three pick-up truckloads of schools supplies. Then, just recently, we picked up another three pick-up truckloads of toys for the Holiday Toy Drive. The patrons of this Dollar Tree store are truly amazing. We thank them with all our hearts for the thousands of dollars of purchases they made for our military children. Sandy Johannes, the manager at the Dollar Tree, and her staff were so very helpful, boxing up the toys to make transporting them much easier,” said Leslie.

After hours in the Wade’s garage, sorting and counting the thousands of toys purchased by the patrons of the Dollar Tree Store in Cameron Park, they were packaged up and taken to the Folsom Veterans Hall where Santa’s elves went to work.

After a few hours the elves had stuffed 200 stockings to be delivered to the three different holiday parties for military service members’ children.

Without the generous contributions of all those mentioned, this project would not have been possible. A very special thank you goes out to Operation Homefront, the patrons and staff of the Dollar Tree Store in Cameron Park, and the amazing volunteers that put it all together to make more than 200 children very happy.

Special to the Democrat

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