The idea, which ultimately became Boucek's Battalion, began in 2008 when a family member was to be deployed through the end of the year. Since he couldn't be home for the holidays, I wanted to send Christmas to him. I felt that with a little support from family and friends, we could even manage to send packages for all 50 members of his Unit along with gifts for the nine K-9s. After I sent out a brief email to a small group, we were able to collect 543 pounds of items which we packed into 60 Christmas stockings and mailed over to them.
In August of 2009, it became apparent that many people wanted to again take part in a project to support our men and women serving overseas at Christmastime. That year we tripled the number of Soldiers to whom we mailed care packages. Each year, we have continued to grow, both in the number of Soldiers we support as well as the generosity from the people and businesses of our community who help make it possible. In 2011, Boucek's Battalion was officially designated as a 401(c)3, non-profit organization and we had our most successful project to date. You can see details of each year's project in the photo album and project pages of our website.
Our Christmas project has many phases and opportunities for support. In order to have the gifts arrive in time for Christmas, we begin our collection phase in October. For the first step of our project we circulate the list of items that we are collecting that year. They are a compilation of things that are either, useful, edible, or fun for our Troops. After collecting enough of every item to ensure that we have one of everything for each Soldier, we then make their individual care packages. All of these items are then boxed and shipped to their ultimate destination overseas.
We also pack "Community Boxes" which contain items for the Unit to share amongst themselves. These boxes contain our surplus items from the care packages; some unrequested items that we received which might be useable to the Troops; any special request items or entertainment items. After the big shipment of all the gift boxes is in the mail, we begin our cookie collection. We gather enough homemade cookies to give each Soldier 1 & ½ dozen. We collect, package and ship them such that they arrive just before Christmas, bringing smiles to their faces.
We operate with help from many different levels. For example, we have elementary school students make homemade Christmas cards; Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts help with moving our collections from drop-off locations to the sorting areas; community members donate their time to help us pack the Christmas boxes and cookies; and businesses as well as individuals, donate funds to pay for the shipping costs, which are expensive. We also receive much needed support in the form of facility use, storage space and transportation of our collected items to and from different locations.
We are continually grateful to our community for its support and interest in our effort to reach as many Soldiers as we can. It is our mission . . . .
~ ~ Never Forgotten Forever Grateful ~ ~
Kim Boucek , Founder