There is an inspiring woman in my community named Dawn Pletcher that has organized an impressive and generous organization called Goodies For Our Troops. I can't say how long Dawn has been organizing volunteers to wrap and pack the various goodies and personal items, as well as solicit donated items from vendors, that our troops overseas would love to receive. All I know is that since I first met Dawn requesting donations while sitting at a card table at a local grocery store entrance two years ago, I have been a supporter....albeit from a distance.
At the time of my first awareness of Goodies For Our Troops, my son was still a civilian, safely working at his job as a vintage race car technician. Now he's stationed in Afghanistan, and is on Dawn's list to regularly receive Goodie packages.
Today was my first opportunity to physically take part in the process of preparing the items for shipment, and I must say I was not only inspired by Dawn's vision and leadership in pulling off such a huge undertaking, I personally got to take part, and had a soul-filling experience.
As I walked into the activity room of a local senior citizen apartment complex, I was greeted by a young man that asked me to sign in and to write a personal note to one of our servicemen/women. Next, I received my assignment from Dawn to cut bubble wrap for the folks wrapping the Goodies at a table at the far end of the room. Our work went quickly, yet there was time to chat and get to know those working nearby. I found l loved mindless work that was still productive.
Soon, we were finished with that job, so I looked around the other tables for where my help might be needed. This time, I graduated to wrapping and once again the friendly conversation with some new friends continued.
Why I called this day Goodies for the Soul is because it was clear that the folks that filled that activity room were all there because they wanted to help. People wanted to give something to our service men and women that expressed their gratitude. The level of true, heart felt caring was palpable.
A side effect of this lovely organized week-end of "giving" was that all those that were donating their time were experiencing a lovely gift themselves.....the gift of community, caring, sharing and even love.
I have to admit, I have wanted to help and contribute my time to this great cause for some time, but before I experienced it, I did not expect to walk away filled myself. I imagine the feel the energy that Goodies For Our Troops produces today is probably much like that during WW ll, where all the supporters, safe on U.S soil, had the opportunity to say thank you to the troops by rolling bandages, taking over factory jobs and rationing.
Although my fellow volunteers, some of which had traveled from other communities to lend a hand, were there to honor the U.S. troops overseas, I, a very proud Mom of a U.S. army private, and citizen of the U.S., unexpectedly walked away with the greatest gift of all.....a soul goodie.