PACKING UP — Key Club President Lilly Duran looks over a table of items that were distributed into boxes.

CHS Key Clubbers are sending boxes of items to those serving aboard ships during the holidays

This winter, the Cloverdale High School Key Club gathered together to create boxes of items to send to service members in the U.S. Navy. The boxes will be distributed to sailors on a ship that had their trip extended for the holidays.

The idea to put together boxes for people serving the country came up as part of a different service project that the Key Club participates in.

“The idea to send boxes to soldiers overseas all started with our Helping Understand Geriatric Service (HUGS) project. This is a project where we go to the convalescent hospital twice a month and we do an activity with the patients, which can be anything from making a craft to doing a project like this,” Key Club President Lilly Duran said.

Duran said that the group knew that some of the convalescent hospital patients were veterans, so the Key Club wanted to gear one of their projects toward honoring or helping people who are currently serving.

“After some research we found a program that sends boxes overseas to soldiers and decided to do that since we could not only have the patients help us assemble the boxes themselves, but we could also have the patients write letters to the soldiers,” Duran said.

The boxes were initially created as part of Operation Shoebox, a program aimed at sending care boxes to troops throughout the world in an effort to boost morale. However, as the club’s adviser, Sue Cummins, was trying to figure out the best way to send the boxes out, a firm shipping address appeared for a U.S. Navy ship stationed out of Travis Air Force Base.

In total, the Key Club along with members of the convalescent hospital filled 25 boxes that will be sent to Travis Air Force Base.

Cummins said that to fill the boxes, members of the Key Club headed to local low-cost stores to stock up on items listed on the Operation Shoebox website as being helpful and desired.

The boxes contain, “everything from pens to non-chocolate candy to word search books and puzzle things,” Cummins said.

The project, while initially thought up as something to do involving local veterans, has also served as a reminder for the students to look outside of the local community.

“It feels really good, and it makes me feel good that they are learning to appreciate the sacrifices that others make, and to think beyond local, and I know they enjoyed it,” Cummins said, commenting on how the project made her feelas an adviser.

For Duran, the project was more about being able to help those who may need a pick-me-up during the holiday season.

“Personally, this project makes me feel that there is at least something I can do to help people who are in need, no matter how small the deed may be,” Duran said.

“I think that us Key Clubbers learned that there are ways to connect with older generations in ways we might not have thought of before this project,” she continued. “I think we also learned that there is always a way you can help, no matter how small it may seem or how far away somebody is.”

Duran said that she anticipates that the Key Club will participate in the project going forward, since it “brings people together” and allows the group to help those who need it. 

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