Stocking for Soldiers collects three tons in donations

By on December 13, 2017

Many soldiers serving in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq will have something to smile about this Christmas as a result of the generosity of Blue Ridge Communications and Pencor offices who embraced the Keystone Military Families’ Stockings for Soldiers project.

Keystone Military Families, a non-profit organization, founded by Kyle Lord (a military mother of a soldier who served five tours of duty) began the project in 2002. This year, the goal is to send 10,000 stuffed stockings from local communities to the dedicated troops who will not be able to enjoy the comforts of home during this holiday season.

“We appreciate your support for our troops and for Keystone Military Families,” said Lord. “I would like to thank the Pencor family for their amazing efforts. Every year you show your commitment to those serving this great country and this community continues to support our efforts to show as many military members as possible that they are not forgotten. This project would not have happened without you.”

Lord said the employees and donors at Blue Ridge Communications are very special volunteers every holiday season.

“Their enthusiasm and dedication to our project was unparalleled,” she said. “This is a true display of the wonderful things that can happen when a community comes together to show their support for our friends and neighbors away from home. These gifts will surely convey the spirit of Christmas and the warmest wishes of the holiday season to every military member who receives them. Thanks so very much for the incredible support again this year. It is wonderful and many more troops will be smiling come Christmas morning.”

Lord also hopes the collection will remind people of those who serve the country throughout the year.

“It is amazing that in this day and age, there are so many troops who do not receive any personal mail,” she said. “This initiative seeks to solve that problem and we will NEVER turn away a soldier, sailor, marine or airman (service member) who needs our help!”

“This year our collection weighed in at over three tons in donations, including food, hygiene and other requested items, over 15,000 signed cards and $25,000 raised for shipping,” said Cindy Mellinger, marketing/community relations coordinator for Blue Ridge Communications. “Thank you to everyone who embraced this project. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Mellinger offered a special acknowledgment to the many churches, civic organizations, schools (Cocalico and Ephrata School Districts), Hershey Elementary School 4th Grade and PTO, Paradise Elementary, Build A Better Future (Ephrata High School program), individuals (including: Dee and Claude Lynch, Dennis and Louise Headington, Andrew Murphy, and Sandra Akers), and many businesses (including: WNC CPAs and Consultants, LLP-Denver and Keystone Villa in Ephrata who opened their doors to us, offering us a wonderful location to have a community card signing party for our soldiers), the Red Rose Veterans Honor Guard, Cub Scouts Pack 132 Denver (Tanya and Lesley Bashore), Kathy McCullough- Lititz VFW Post Auxiliary to Post 1463 and Trail Life Troop 316, Cindy Gensemer-representing Ephrata AMVETS Auxiliary to Post 136 and Ephrata Ladies of the Elks Post 1933, Keystone Apple, Inc. (R.D. Frye), Applebee’s of Ephrata (Joel Fenstermacher, GM), Members 1st Federal Credit Union (Ephrata-Erin Treese and Mechanicsburg), Thomas Davis, Members 1st Federal Credit Union Outreach Coordinator, and Danielle Shumate (coordinator for the charitable efforts by the Reinholds VFW Post 6759 Ladies Auxiliary, staff and volunteers) who took a personal interest in making the holidays brighter for this dedicated group of men and women. In addition, DEI, Inc. and the Winters Memorial committee generously supported and donated to the program, allowing us the opportunity to ship more stockings this year!

“I apologize if I have not been able to acknowledge everyone individually, but you mean the world to me and to this project,” Mellinger continued, “I have been privileged to be the project coordinator for this endeavor for the past eight years and each year I continue to be amazed by the overwhelming compassion shown by the Blue Ridge Communications’ viewing area. Due to your generous support, our service men and women will receive a loving reminder from home over the Christmas season. These gifts will serve as powerful messages of joy and hope to our men and women serving around the world, as they are so appreciative of the outpouring of kindness. Thank you!”

Following the collection, Lord concluded by saying, “I am truly honored to be able to work with such loving, giving people. Every year the support and enthusiasm grows bigger than the year before and more of our troops know that they are loved and supported back home. Thank you so very much for your continued support for our military & their families.”

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Blue Ridge Communications and Keystone Military Families wish everyone a Merry Christmas and safe and healthy New Year!

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