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ND sends care packages to troops

LIZ O'Donnell | Monday, February 9, 2009

Members of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 class councils – with help from students from each class – gathered in South Dining Hall Sunday afternoon to build care packages for soldiers who are fighting overseas.

The care packages are comprised of an assortment of goods ranging from candy and chips to basic necessities like deodorant and toothpaste.

Also included in the care packages is a thank you note to the soldier and valentines. A table was set up in the LaFortune this past week where students could sign valentines that would be placed in the packages.

Notre Dame senior Christine Cartwright and her brother Kevin created the project Sweets for Soldiers in her hometown.

“My brother and I started this project because we wanted to find a way to support our troops,” Cartwright said. “We have a lot of family in the Air Force, so we feel very connected to the war.”

Notre Dame was first involved in the project last year when Cartwright was a junior in Lyons Hall. She and then-junior Alyssa Corcoran held the project primarily as a dorm event.

“When we initiated the project in Lyons it ran very smoothly,” Corcoran said. “The large turnout gave us confidence to move it to a larger scale operation.

Cartwright and Corcoran brought the idea to the senior class council during the first semester in order to open the project up to the rest of the school.

The project’s first campus wide event took place in December when Sweets for Soldiers made care packages for the holiday season. A variety of holiday-themed goodies, including Santa hats and reindeer hats, were included in that batch of packages

“We receive letters from the soldiers giving us feedback about what they want us to ship to them,” Cartwright said. “Typically they ask for junk food because the army does not give them any.”

Among other popular items, Cartwright said that men often request deodorant and women ask for feminine hygiene products. These necessities are often hard to come by while serving in the war.

The soldiers that are selected to receive the packages are found through a public listing of soldiers, anysoldier.com, which provides names and addresses of soldiers who typically do not receive packages.

Cartwright estimated that there will be more than one hundred packages included in this shipment. Sweets for Soldiers shipped out around 150 packages during Christmas, and they are hoping their numbers will continue to grow.

Cartwright said the packages made today will be shipped out at the end of the week. They are destined for Iraq and throughout the Middle East. She said that they will arrive within the next few weeks.

The program is funded primarily through donations given by family and friends. Notre Dame has also donated to the packages that were created on campus. Cartwright said that donations are key to keeping the program going.

“I would like to see this program to continue,” said Corcoran said, encouraging interested people to visit their Web site, www.sweetsforsoldiers.com.