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Published September 15, 2015
Volume 23, Number 9



Blue Star Moms Seek Donations to Assist U.S. Troops

Abroad, at Home

Blue Star Moms

By Jay Hipps
NETWORK Writer



It may only be mid-September, but already the Blue Star Moms — an East Bay chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America, a volunteer organization started during World War II to support U.S. troops abroad — is gearing up for one of their most visible events of the year, the Holiday Hugs Care Package Mailing.
 
“We are lovingly referred to as ‘a Mom in a box’ for our care packages, with a little piece of home in them,” says Roseanne Phillips, president of the Blue Star Moms, a self-described “non-partisan, non-political, non-sectarian, non-discriminatory, and non-profit organization.”
 
“It is extremely important for people to remember that there are still thousands of our nation’s sons and daughters in harm’s way,” she says. “Even though we think they are all coming back now, they are not. We need to let them know we still support and care about them.”
 
For the care packages, the group invites donations of a host of food, personal care items, and amusements — a complete list of items that may be accepted can be requested on their web site at bluestarmoms.org or by e-mailing carepackages@bluestarmoms.org — which are then forwarded to American troops overseas. Since the founding of the Danville chapter in 2001, the group has sent over 50,000 care packages.
 
The Blue Star Moms also accept cash donations to support the venture. “Our biggest issue with sending care packages is the actual cost of sending the care packages,” says Phillips. “It costs us approximately $15 to send each individual care package. If we send 1,000, that’s $15,000 just to send them.”
 
Equally important to the group are returning veterans. “I believe people forget about our wounded and veterans, because they are out of sight, out of mind. It is our job to make sure they stay visible,” says Phillips. “There is so much need for wounded/veterans and their families.” Blue Star Moms support veterans’ groups throughout the East Bay, volunteer at the local VA hospital and a number of other facilities that deliver services to veterans, assist at sporting events for the wounded, and much more.
 
The local Blue Star Moms also focus their attention on the region’s Gold Star parents, who Phillips says are “near and dear to our hearts.”
 
“A Gold Star Mom is a mom who’s lost a child while they are serving in the military,” she explains. “Every Blue Star Mom knows, at any moment, we could be one of them. There is support for the spouses and children of the fallen, but almost nothing for the parents. So, 10 years ago, we decided to do something about that. In conjunction with the Marines Memorial Hotel, the East Bay Blue Star Moms host an event every year for our Gold Star Parents. We invite all of the parents of the fallen from California to a safe place where they can meet and support each other while they honor and remember their children.”
 
While the Blue Star Moms are an all-volunteer organization, they still have ambitions towards expanding their level of service. “With all we do, I want to do more. There is so much need out there. I wish we had the funds to do more, but we don’t,” says Phillips. “Our donations are down because people think the troops are coming home and they don’t need as much help, when the opposite is the case. I think that they need just as much, if not more support when they come back to U.S. soil. They have seen and experienced things we cannot possibly imagine, have injuries we can see and injuries we cannot see. They will need and deserve our help and support for many years to come. They fight for and protect us, so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have here in America. They fight so we don’t have to.”
 
To make a donation or for additional information, access the Blue Star Moms web site at bluestarmoms.org.

 



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