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University remembers soldiers, sends packages

Ann-Marie Woods | Wednesday, November 14, 2007

As Notre Dame students count the days to go home for Thanksgiving, one group wants to remember fellow Americans that don’t have the privilege of spending the holiday with their families.

Bearing in mind men and women in the armed forces abroad, the Notre Dame Accounting Association (NDAA) organized its annual care-package drive, inviting students to send gifts to deployed soldiers, primarily those in the Middle East.

The drive ends this weekend.

Senior Elizabeth Byrum, NDAA co-director of community service, said the care packages are a way to show the troops support and let them know “there are students at Notre Dame and other places that have them in their thoughts and prayers.”

She said the packages will include items the soldiers might enjoy, but do not necessarily have access to while they’re abroad, like candy and beef jerky. But the care packages will also have more practical supplies, like sunscreen and chapstick.

Byrum said the NDAA has also received donations from different stores in the community to help pay for the things in the packages.

With gift card contributions from Wal-Mart, Meijer, and Sam’s Club, the NDAA was able to purchase food and supplies for the drive. The Hammes Bookstore also donated Notre Dame T-shirts for each care package, Byrum said.

Collections and donations began after fall break, and will continue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this afternoon, in the atrium of the Mendoza College of Business. The NDAA also will have a concession stand on South Quad this weekend before the Duke game, with all proceeds contributing to the care packages. At the concession stand, Byrum and other NDAA members will collect items and cash donations to help pay for shipping costs.

One of the most important aspects of this project is collecting a list of soldiers to receive packages, Byrum said.

“Anyone who knows someone serving overseas should e-mail me directly with the soldier’s name and address,” Byrum said.

The NDAA will take names of military men and women through Saturday, trying to collect as many names as in previous years – a goal the association has not yet met, Byrum said.

Created five years ago by the NDAA’s former faculty advisor, accounting professor Margot O’Brien, the drive began as a small project and has grown each year, Byrum said. With the onset of the war in the Middle East, O’Brien was interested in sending something to American soldiers to show support.