Georgia Group's Packages Keep Troops Cooking

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2007 - Care packages from one Georgia group are keeping troops in combat support hospitals cooking.

"Our mission is to send support, smiles and care packages, as well as small appliances, ... to our combat support hospitals," said Meredith Kelly, chairman of "Operation Stars and Stripes."

The appliances go beyond mere coffee pots, though those have made their way from the Peach State to foreign shores as well. Operation Stars and Stripes has sent mini-refrigerators, microwave ovens and hot plates to give troops some flexibility when it comes to mealtime.

In addition to the support it offers the hospitals, the group sends smaller care packages of comfort items, cards and letters, Kelly said. More than 3,600 such packages have been sent since March 2003.

"Once we connect with a unit or individual, we send them what they need throughout their deployment," Kelly said.

In addition to its care package program, the all-volunteer group works to increase public awareness and understanding of hardships faced by active-duty personnel.

Operation Stars and Stripes is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

Kelly said she has high hopes for her group's affiliation with America Supports You.

"We hope that it will help to get more exposure for us nationwide," she said, adding that that exposure may help in securing donations to cover postage and fill the care packages as well.

"We are just a group of volunteer Americans who are proud of what our military is doing and feel that they should know that we support them and will not forget about them," Kelly said.
Georgia Group's Packages Keep Troops Cooking [ ]