By chance – I guess that’s how life works – I met a group of ladies called the Blue Star Moms. I never heard of them before and was in awe of what they do and how they band together to develop a unique camaraderie and a mission that is bigger than them all.
Over the past week or so I’ve been asking people if they ever heard of the Blue Star Moms. Except for some wonderful military guys, no one has. I’ve sorta adopted them and their holiday mission and am asking everyone for some help.
A Little History: The Blue Star Moms or Mothers was started in 1942 during WWII when moms of soldiers first got together thanks to Captain George Maines who had the idea for the group. Based on the info on the Blue Star Mothers website, the moms helped throughout WWII in hospitals, train stations, packed care packages and more. The organization has been held together by mothers showing pride in both their children and their country. As per Wikipedia, in 8/2011 there were over 5,000 members and 225 chapters of Blue Star Moms.
In case you were wondering, the name “Blue Star” comes from a flag that was designed in WWI by an army officer who had children serving in the military. The Blue Star Mothers website notes that it is a “reminder to the communities that defending and preserving America’s freedom demands much sacrifice”. And, if you see a gold star flag hanging, that signifies that the child was killed in the line of duty. The ultimate sacrifice given to protect us all.
New York 6 Chapter was formed in 2009 and reaches all of Long Island and the 5 Boroughs. Cynthia is the President, and I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting her and some of her ladies. Cynthia was lost when her oldest son joined the military as a Marine. Her husband happened to be reading a local newspaper and saw an ad for the chapter. He encouraged her to go to the meeting where she immediately found a connection with the group. They showed her what she could do instead of sitting at home being sad. The moms took her to functions where she met other Blue Star Moms and some Gold Star Moms. She noted that meeting Gold Star Moms scared her at first, as they are a visual reminder of the constant fear each Blue Star Mom faces every day while their children are away. She took over the NY Chapter in March 2011. In April, her worst fears were realized when her 23 year old Son, Jerry, died while serving in the military. She became a Gold Star Mom and is also a Blue Star Mom, as her second son is also in the Marines. Cynthia has made the Blue Star Moms a priority in her life. She told me that, if it wasn’t for these ladies, she would never have made it through. I have a 20 year old. I can’t even imagine what these ladies (and the dads, too) experience on a daily basis.
So, why would I care if my child is not in the miliary, you might ask. I think that our military are out of sight and out of mind, but they are out there protecting us 24/7. I care because I am proud to be an American. I care because we all should.
These amazing ladies are working to pack care packages for our troops for the holidays. As Time to Play is a “people helping people” project, I figured all of us could band together (this is the first Time to Play effort of many more to come) to make the mailing bigger than ever. And, I figured it was time many more people knew about this amazing group of Moms who stand behind not only their son or daughter, but all of the sons and daughters out there fighting for our freedom.
So, Here’s What We Need:
The ladies are packing on November 21 at an American Legion Hall in Wading River.
They are collecting the following items: (Please contact me so we can develop a drop off box listing for people in the Community to come by with donations. There will be a list posted on the www.timetoplay.com home page shortly)
- Tuna (in the bags, not cans)
- Socks – green or tan hunting (warm) socks
- Deodorant — Solid form (not aerosol because of mailing the packages)
- Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
- Candy – twizzlers, hard candies, Mike & Ike type of candies
- Yankee Doodles / wrapped cakes
- Slim Jim (for protein)
- Peanuts in individual packages
- Baby Wipes
- Baby Powder
- Anti-Fungal Medication (their feet are always wet)
- Band Aids
- Pop Tarts
- Cynthia said anything kids like can be packed
- There are also other things on their list of items, so click here to get more ideas
They plan to mail over 300 boxes. I know we don’t have much time between now and then, but I’d love for us to help them mail more. They rely on donations to do their job. Let’s give our troops a reminder that we are thinking about them during the holidays.
They are also having an “adopt a blanket” drive, where for $10 you can adopt a blanket they will mail to our troops. They welcome a personalized note to send with the blanket.
And, if you are out of New York, you are not off the hook. Just google your local chapter of Blue Star Moms (remember there are 225 of them) and see what you can do.
Ready? It’s time to help our people!
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