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Soldiers overseas to receive a 'Touch of Home' in time for the holidays

Donations are still needed
By: Tricia Caspers, Columnist
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How to help

To donate any of the items listed in the article or sports equipment to soldiers in Afghanistan, contact Touch of Home at (530) 305-3145 or email

. Checks are also welcome. Make your check payable to Touch of Home and send to P.O. Box 8173. Auburn CA, 95604.

 

Here’s a top ten list of items you may not know a soldier deployed to Afghanistan needs: Baby wipes, Sensodyne tooth paste, Crystal Light, Starbucks instant coffee, gum, mints, salted nuts, lip balm, deodorant and Halloween candy (not chocolate; it melts).

“The only shade is on the other side of a tank,” said Georgiana Lohman, volunteer for Touch of Home, a non-profit organization that collects donations to send to U.S. troops in remote locations. “It’s bitter cold in the winter, and it’s exhaustingly hot in the summer.”

Also, even the bottled water tastes terrible, she said, so soldiers appreciate anything that they can use to flavor the water.

“Many bases have Keurig machines now,” she said, “but we send instant because they don’t have to go inside and find electricity for that.”

Lohman was recently contacted by Army Reserve Specialist Kelcey Rae of Roseville who requested care packages — for four soldiers deployed with her in Afghanistan, three of whom have never received a package from home. Rae also requested sports equipment for her entire detachment. 

Auburn Recreation District donated a box of gently used softballs, Lohman said, and the care packages will reach the troops in time for Christmas.

A Touch of Home works to supply Forward Out Bases with items that are not readily available, Lohman said. It takes about a month to deliver the packages.

 “While all people in the military are very important, we gear ourselves to shipping to those who are most … in harm’s way,” she said.

The care packages are a boost to morale, Lohman said, and she receives many emails from grateful soldiers.

“I would like to say thank you for the treats of cashews, pistachios and the energy drink,” U.S. Army Lt. Luchano Jones wrote in an email. “The support has made what could be a stressful time, very tolerable and enjoyable.”

In the past, the volunteers have also sent dog supplies for deployed military dog handlers.

“They have dogs that sniff out explosive devices,” Lohman said. “(Once) the Marines forgot to order dog food, and the dog handler was so happy to receive our package.”

The group has also sent veterinarian supplies for injured dogs, she said. Lohman is currently in search of K-9s in need.

The next round of packages will be sent on Nov. 10, and many supplies are still needed, especially baby wipes.

“They are worth their weight in gold,” Lohman said.

Reach reporter Tricia Caspers-Ross at Triciar@goldcountrymedia.com