Group seeks to spread the loveIt’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas, at least not for a group that is Spreading the Love. Founded by Maple resident Tracy Tollers and fueled by social media, they hope to provide Christmas packages to 100 Marines and sailors who don’t have support from home.
It’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas, at least not for a group that is Spreading the Love. Founded by Maple resident Tracy Tollers and fueled by social media, they hope to provide Christmas packages to 100 Marines and sailors who don’t have support from home.
“If my son were to deploy and let’s say I didn’t have enough money to send a care package or get involved, how would he feel watching everybody else open something from home?” asked Tollers, whose son is a Marine. “Nobody should ever have to feel that way, especially when they’re out there.”
Spreading the Love is not an organization, Tollers said.
“Just a bunch of moms and dads, brothers and sisters with a soft spot that want to give back,” she said.
Drop boxes for items have sprung up at businesses throughout the county, including Tiger Tanning and Northland Weight Loss in Poplar. Everyone is encouraged to drop in needed items like travel games, sunscreen, toothpaste and snacks or donate the $15 shipping cost to “adopt” a box.
“I think it’s just a wonderful idea,” said Claudia Porter, program director of Northland Weight Loss. A military wife and mother, she understands how important mail is to a serviceman.
“The support definitely makes a difference,” said Porter, who lives in Hawthorne.
Debbie Kurtz doesn’t have any family members in the military, but the thought of these Marines and sailors having nothing at Christmas tugged at her emotions.
“It just breaks my heart these guys are doing all this and not even getting a letter,” said Kurtz, a designer with Tri-State Business Systems of Superior. So she asked her boss if she could set up a drop box, complete with flags and brochures.
Campbell Lumber in Superior has a drop box and will also serve as the storage facility for donated items. Volunteers will pack up the boxes for shipping at the Superior store Dec. 7.
“My feeling is when someone joins the military they become all of our sons and daughters,” said Melanie Sikveland, cashier at Campbell Lumber.
Local schools have started signing up to provide personalized cards and letters as well as items and postage.
Anyone can help, Porter said, and no donation is too small.
“A lot of the items on the list can be purchased at the dollar store,” she said.
The project started on Facebook as Tollers was keeping track of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which her friend’s son is deployed with. She found out some of the Marines were not receiving any letters or packages from home and offered to lend a hand. The list began with 25 names and has grown to 100 men from three different battalions. Another 20 names are available, but Tollers wants to cover the first 100 before accepting them.
“The Marine Corps motto is ‘No man left behind,’” she said. “That’s what I’m sticking to.”
Along with Christmas gifts, the Maple woman also hopes to find families to adopt these troops for the duration of their tour of duty.
“I call it my mission to get these guys adopted out,” Tollers said, but the effort has hit a lull and she wants to widen the pool of reinforcements.
Both items and financial contributions can be dropped off at: Tiger Tanning/Northland Weight Loss and Orthopedic & Spine Therapy in Poplar, Tri-State Business Systems, Campbell Lumber, Newborn2School Education and Shabby Shed in Superior and the Pizza Parlor in Iron River. More information on the effort, including drop sites and a list of needed items, can be found on Facebook at Spreading the LOVE ~ Packaging Party for Deployed or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.