RIT Community Bands Together to Collect Items for Armed Forces Serving Overseas

Packing and shipping care packages begins Nov. 23

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More than 50 members of the Rochester Institute of Technology community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents, are currently serving in the Armed Forces. In their honor, RIT’s alumni relations department has spearheaded an effort requesting RIT community members to donate items to the Holiday S.O.S. (Support Our Servicemen and Servicewomen) Project. Donations will be sorted and assembled into care packages for the troops from 1-4 p.m. Nov. 23, in the Crossroads building on RIT’s Henrietta campus.

Donations, collected through Nov. 20 at several locations across campus, include snacks and food, travel games, playing cards, baseballs, books, and a variety of toiletries such as tissues, toilet paper, bug repellent, shaving cream, tube socks, soap, sunscreen and hand sanitizer.

“We get the most responses regarding the Girl Scout Cookies we enclose when we can,” says Kelly Redder, assistant vice president for alumni relations at RIT. “The troops enjoy receiving books, games, snacks, magazines, makeup—but when someone receives an actual ‘taste from home,’ it truly makes them happy."

And, the Holiday S.O.S. Project continues to grow. In 2007, RIT sent 47 care packages to troops; in 2009, they are projecting that more than 65 packages will be mailed.

“Generally, within a month we receive e-mails, letters and postcards from all over the world letting us know of their appreciation,” adds Redder. “In some cases, the person serving has their family with them so they make opening the packages a family tradition. The opportunity to help say ‘thank you’ to them is what is most satisfying.”

MEDIA NOTE: To photograph care-package assembly, call 224-6061.