Rochester Institute of Technology’s Alumni Relations department will for the 10th year give members of the Armed Forces with ties to the university a taste of home this holiday season.
Through the Support Our Servicemen and Servicewomen Project, department members are collecting toiletries, games, books, snacks and Girl Scout cookies to send overseas.
“We have so many members from the RIT community serving for us,” says Kelly Redder, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “It is great to be able to recognize them and say thank you.”
The SOS initiative was started in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This year, more than 60 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. 18.
Donations will be sorted and assembled into care packages from 1 to 2 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Crossroads building.
Notes of appreciation written by RIT community members will be included in the care packages. Clothing and toiletries also will be sent through the Soldiers’ Angels project to recovering soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
About 120 care packages were mailed last year.
Mary Barnard, a senior staff assistant in RIT’s School of Film and Animation, will sort packages again this year along with other family members. Barnard’s son Michael, a Marine on his third deployment in the Middle East, will receive one of the care packages. Michael Barnard helped assemble care packages last year with his mother, father and sister and sent one to his brother, Josh, also a Marine who received the package just before his deployment ended.
“The SOS Project means a lot to me to know that others care so much about my sons when they are deployed,” Barnard says. “They really appreciate receiving them. It brings a bit of home to them over there.”
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.