Despite having to face a typically busy weekend, Rosemary Lay said she was glad she was able to volunteer part of her Saturday helping spread some Easter tidings.
Along with a few dozen other community members, Lay became part of lively assembly line tasked with bagging and boxing donated candy and letters destined for troops deployed overseas.
“As I get older I feel it is more of a civic responsibility to help others,” the El Centro resident said.
The effort, dubbed Operation Easter Bunny, took place at Imperial Valley College and was hosted by the campus’ Students For Political Awareness club in partnership with Naval Air Facility El Centro. More than 30 boxes containing 25-30 bags of candy and letters addressed to service members from all the military branches are expected to bring troops far from their families this Easter a little comfort and joy, organizers said.
While Thanksgiving and Christmas are typically two holidays long known to stir up homesickness for deployed troops, Easter is no different, said NAF El Centro Chaplain Lt. Jared Smith. The community effort collected more than 70 pounds of candy, hundreds of letters from local students and more than $200 for postage expenses, he said.
“A little candy from home is a good reminder that people still care,” Smith said.
A majority of the boxes are expected to reach one overseas hospital worker who will then distribute the Easter goodies to injured soldiers, Smith said.
As part of a community service project, IVC psychology major Jessica Montgomery said that she and her classmates received points for the candy and monetary donations that are to be sent to the deployed troops. With the help of a teacher, Montgomery was able to secure letters addressed to troops from about 30 Central Union High School English-language development students, she said.
While she said that she doesn’t know anyone deployed overseas, a cousin of hers had done a stint in Iraq.
“They’re the backbone that makes sure we’re safe,” Montgomery said, referring to armed service members. “And we have to be their backbone of support.”
The idea to send deployed troops Easter treats is just one of several community service initiatives the Students For Political Awareness club has carried out in recent times, said faculty adviser and political science professor Gaylla Finnell.
Such community service projects give student club members and honorary members the opportunity to meet with public officials and community leaders and build lasting partnerships that seek to address local issues.
“They find out how policy impacts the local community and learn how to seek better solutions,” Finnell said.
Staff Writer, Copy Editor Julio Morales can be reached at 760-335-4665 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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