Operation: MOM gearing up for holiday packing

Biggest Placer County Christmas shipment expected this year, group leader says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn-based organization is hoping to bring a piece of home to soldiers overseas. The Placer County chapter of Operation: MOM is holding its annual Make a Difference in a Military Person’s Day fundraiser Saturday. The organization is asking those who attend to make monetary donations or donate items to be shipped to deployed soldiers in Christmas “A Little Touch of Home” care packages. This year Operation: MOM has even more need than in the past, said Pat Ryan, Operation: MOM Placer County group leader. “This is an important event because it’s our big push for Christmas, for money and product, to be able to send these packages to the troops,” Ryan said. “And this event makes it possible to ship to every name that is on our list, and right now we have 388 names. This is going to be the biggest Christmas ship that we have ever done out of Placer County.” Ryan said the packages go to Placer County residents and beyond, because soldiers spread the word throughout their units and the organization doesn’t turn down anyone who requests a package. The organization sends packages to deployed soldiers every month of the year. Auburn resident Lori Bergenstock’s son, Tim, is coming home from his deployment in Afghanistan this week. Bergenstock said her son has told her how much the packages mean to the troops. “Tim wasn’t there at Christmas, but I know he said every package he got was just such a blessing to him,” Bergenstock said. “I know he got packages from Operation: MOM and we also had family friends that Tim had never even met before that sent him boxes. We are their family, they expect it from us, but getting things from the community and knowing people really care about what they are doing makes a huge difference while they are over there.” Bergenstock said the event is a neat way to meet some of the families of other soldiers. Auburn resident Jack Poulsen served in the Navy during the Korean War and also helps with Operation: MOM. “We got started on this thing because our grandson was in Iraq three times on three combat tours, and the stuff they needed, especially at this time of year, is just to let people there know the people from home are backing them,” Poulsen said. “All the goodies help out because we have been sending stuff and he was sharing with his unit, and that made a heck of a difference, just the thought that people are thinking of them, even though they are half a world away.” Ryan said she is excited for the event. “I think for the event for me, the thing I look forward to most is just the community coming together in support of a project like this and supporting our troops and our military,” she said. Reach Bridget Jones at ----------------------------------------------------- Operation: MOM Make a Difference in a Military Person’s Day When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Where: Grocery Outlet, 414 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn Highlights: Sock wrapping, ROTC color guard, write a note to a soldier, hamburgers and hotdogs, pie throwing contest and more Information: Call Pat Ryan at (530) 908-0751or e-mail ------------------------------------------------------ What are some items soldiers need in their care packages? • Beef or turkey jerky • Protein or energy bars • Top Ramen soup • Chewing gum • Non-chocolate candy • Dried fruit in sealed bags • Disposable razors • Q-tips • Playing cards • Sunscreen • Lip balm • Dental floss • Black or white socks • Paperback books, CDs, DVDs • Phone calling cards