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Troops to benefit from fundraiser

Magician, dancers, robotics scheduled for event
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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An upcoming Auburn fundraiser and donation day could help brighten deployed soldiers’ holidays this year. Operation: MOM is a national organization that acts as a support group to those in the military and their families. The group also sends care packages to deployed soldiers. The organization’s Placer County chapter is hosting a Make a Difference in a Military Person’s Day fundraiser and donation day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday in the Auburn Grocery Outlet parking lot. Residents can bring or buy non-perishable food items to include in the 200 boxes the group plans to pack and ship to troops on Nov. 16. These are the last boxes to be sent out this year, according to Dee Rein, group leader for the Placer County chapter. The event is a collaborative effort among Operation: MOM, the Auburn Kiwanis Club and E.V. Cain Charter Middle School. Rein said the care packages help lift the spirits of deployed soldiers, especially during this time of the year. “The holidays are the hardest time for our troops to be away from home,” Rein said. “The morale is very low, and they don’t feel that the John Q. Public cares about them. So, when they get a care package from an organization such as ours, it refuels their morale and lets them know that people do care about them.” Rein said last year’s event was very successful, and the group is hoping this fundraiser will help rebuild its supplies. “We did one last year and it was quite successful in helping us fill the care packages,” she said. “Quite truthfully, we pack every month, so what happens every month is we look around the storeroom and there is nothing left on the shelves. It’s been pretty hard in the last two years in trying to keep up on sending our packages. Every month we run out, and every month we have to run around and ask the community to donate.” Rein said the best things to donate are white and black socks, toiletries and non-perishables that won’t melt in the boxes. Examples of foods that can be donated are packages of nuts and dried fruits, beef or turkey jerky, protein bars, microwave popcorn, canned chicken or tuna and more. Other features of the event include a presentation of colors by Whitney High School ROTC, speeches by Mayor Bridget Powers and Councilman Mike Holmes, a strolling magician named Anton, an In Sync Dance Studio performance and a robotics team demonstration. Those who attend can also buy hot dogs and drinks, and proceeds will go toward offsetting Operation: MOM’s postage costs, Rein said. There is no other cost to attend the event, according to Rein. Auburn resident Jean Poulsen, who has been volunteering with Operation: MOM for six years, said the event is important because it could help soldiers feel more at home during the holidays. “It was a success last year, I sure hope it’s a success this year,” Poulsen said. “I hope that we receive enough supplies to fill all of the boxes we need to send out – besides of course (getting out) the message to the public that we need their support.” Colfax resident Carole Park, who has been volunteering with the organization for seven years, said soldiers probably appreciate knowing someone back home cares about them just as much as the items they receive in the packages. “I think it’s important to let our troops know that we care, and this is our way of doing it,” Park said. “We send them a package every month, and as important as the goodies are the sentiments being sent and that (the troops) know there are people at home thinking about them.” Park said she thinks this kind of event is perfect for the local community. “I guess (I enjoy) the spirit (of the community the most),” she said. “People really want to help. If you show them a way, something that they can accomplish, they’re more than willing to help.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ----------------------------------------------------- Make a Difference in a Military Person’s Day What: An effort to raise funds and gather donations for Operation: MOM care packages When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday Where: Grocery Outlet Parking lot, 414 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn For information: Call Dee Rein (530) 263-0503 Website: operationmom.org