Holiday Packing Event

November 16th, 2019
Holiday Packing Event

437 BOXES PACKED AT THE EVENT. TOTAL BOXES SHIPPED – 478!! This was an all time high box count for any event in TBTS history!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

We held our 2019 Holiday Packing Event at the American Legion Post 273 in beautiful Maderia Beach, Florida. The legion has become one of the group’s favorite locations, and the main go-to for many of our events. They are always amazing hosts! We are always made to feel welcome, and there are always so many folks out there helping us pack these boxes! As always, we had a really great turnout.

We had a huge number of new members, and had some folks that have been with us from the beginning. Everyone of was out there on a beautiful Saturday morning helping us do what we do. All of these volunteers coming out to help make our little pieces of home just that much more special.

This event really shined with the effort of several local businesses that wanted to help us reach as many troops as we could.

Terminix Customer Support in Tampa surprised us with a large shipment of goodie bags (food and non-food) for our boxes. They packed nearly 1300 one-gallon ziplock bags – food, snacks, toiletries, sock, hats… you name it, they packed it! It was incredible. FOUR pickup truck loads!! Many of the team at Terminix are veterans, and it showed with their team spirit and enthusiasm. When we got the last load in at the warehouse, we just stood there looking at the boxes and just amazed at the team effort these folks showed.

Travelers Insurance came in with another truckload of packed goodies. Unloading them at the warehouse, we joked that we were gonna need a bigger trailer! Aetna Information Services brought in lots of goodies, and are already collecting for our next event! Bay Care has been with us a little over a year now, and came through again with more goodies for our boxes. Love having them on board with us!

The Girl Scouts spent the summer sewing Christmas stockings, and then filled them for us to send to the troops. This is several years in a row now these amazing young ladies come through for our events every time.

Donna Ford and her students at Learning Gate Community School collected 140 pounds of Halloween candy, and Darcy Edwards and her students came back again this year with 378 pounds of Halloween candy!! All of these gathered goodies went back out in stacks of Christmas stockings for the troops. Great job!

There were some very special, and incredibly beautiful hand-made cards that went in nearly every single box. The time and love that went into these cards were evident the moment you help them. Thank you to all who bought them, these will undoubtedly be treasured by the troops.

Michelle Fulmer brought her handmade jewelry out again as well – she hand makes these beautiful necklace and earring sets and donates 100% of the proceeds of her sales to our shipping. Thank you again for being with us!

In attendance were members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, local churches and businesses, and many other incredible volunteers from the community and bay area donating goods, and helping pack boxes for our troops. A special shout out to many businesses that came through for us and helped make sure we had money to ship these boxes. Just to name a few, National Mortgage Insurance/NMI Holdings, Vetted Security Solutions, Chipotle, St. Dunstans Church, A-Plus Signature Design, Brennans Painting, McCabinet, Taylor & Taylor Holdings, Mr Joes Off the Beach,The Veterans Boat Parade, Sea Dog Brewery, Marine13, and so many more! We also had an amazing number of our own members step up and donate to the cause right out of their own pockets. With all of your generosity, we were able to make the shipping and have a little bit left to start on our next event as well!

We always have a lot of young people come out to help pack our boxes. This is something that means an awful lot to all of us at TBTS – we want to give a heartfelt thank you to the families of the kids in attendance. By bringing these kids out to an event and getting them involved, it plants seeds for the future – valuable seeds for these kids to grow up with the appreciation and understanding of giving to those who protect our freedoms. It is a bright and encouraging view of the future leaders of our country. We are proud to have you as part of our effort year after year.

Many of our guests are veterans and we get to hear how much things like this meant to them as they helped us pack. One special treat this event, was to have one of the recipients of out packages come in and tell us about it. Darryl Mellars was on the receiving end of our packages overseas, and spoke to us about what it felt like to get that little piece of home.

I want to make special note to thank a handful of our die-hard members and some other volunteers that came out to help us prep this monster shipment for delivery to the post office, and to the Girl Scouts, their leader Nicole, and my good friend Alan Shedler for showing up at 6:00am at the
post office to unload the trailer. That was awesome!

Our web-hosting and social media team BESTEDGE SEM continues to deliver, handling our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on the web. These people have amazing talent, and I happily recommend them! Adam, Jeffrey, Owen, John, Jessica (and those behind the scenes)… THANK YOU!!

Thank you to all of those unsung heroes that never appear in any of the pictures on the site, but never fail, year after year, to take time and hit that PayPal button on the website, or drop us a check in the mail, or hold a fund raiser online – your donations are key to us being able to ship out the packages – you make that happen! And thank you to our many corporate sponsors who always come through with donations for goods and postage.

I am very proud of what we do. I know I say it an all the time, but it never loses a single bit of meaning with me – you folks are an amazing group of people. We have been at this a long time. This is our 13th year sending packages to our troops, and we are now
well over the 10,000 box mark! Together we all have gathered goodies, raised shipping funds, brought in cards and letters, and packed boxes to ship to our troops. Tampa Bay Troop Support has grown beyond anything we could have imagined. It has done so because of the drive and dedication of our members who always keep the project going. Thank you so much for believing in this effort and coming back time after time to join us.

More than anything, I want to thank our Troops – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Reserves – all of you who stepped up and signed the line to protect the nation we live in. Thank you to those who have been there and back, those who have served, and those that are still serving, and prayers up for those that served and will not return. You incredible men and women are the reason we do what we do. You make sacrifices every day so that we may live in peace and enjoy the freedoms of our great country. You represent the ideals and honor of the United States of America, and we are proud of you.

You are our True American Heroes.