Rochester Institute of Technology’s Alumni Relations department is giving members of the Armed Forces with ties to the university a little taste of home this holiday season.
Through the Support Our Servicemen and Servicewomen Project, department members are collecting toiletries, games, snacks and even Girl Scout cookies to send overseas.
“This is a way to send our thoughts of appreciation and support to those serving our country,” says Kelly Redder, assistant vice president for Alumni Relations. “We know they look forward to receiving the care packages and appreciate that the RIT community is thinking about them.”
Donations will be sorted and assembled into care packages from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 22 in the Crossroads building on RIT’s Henrietta campus.
The SOS initiative was started in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This year, more than 75 members of the RIT community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents, are serving in the Armed Forces.
Donations are being collected at various sites on campus through Nov. 19. About 130 care packages were mailed last year, including 30 packages with just Girl Scout cookies. Since 2001, more than 2 tons of items have been sent overseas.
For the first time this year, notes of appreciation written by RIT community members will be included in the care packages. The notes are being written at tables staffed around campus and at a collection site set up at Barnes & Noble at RIT.
Also this year the program was expanded to include a partnership with Soldiers’ Angels, which provides support to recovering soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Clothing and toiletries will be sent there.
Mary Barnard’s son Josh, who is deployed in Afghanistan, will be the recipient of one of the care packages. Barnard, a senior staff assistant in the School of Film and Animation, helped assemble care packages last year with her son Michael, who had just finished active duty. She plans to help again this year.
“As a mother of two Marines who have served twice in Iraq and one now deployed in Afghanistan on his third tour, I am so thankful for all of the support that people give both here at RIT and across our nation,” Barnard says.
The care packages will be mailed before Thanksgiving. The majority should receive them before Christmas. For more information, go to www.rit.edu/alumni/sos.