(Sept. 27, 2013) The American Legion Synepuxent Post #166 will start collecting items for military troops Oct. 1 at locations in Ocean City, West Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin.
Post #166 member Sarge Garlitz and his wife, Rosie, will box and mail the donations in December, just in time for Christmas, to those on military tours. The packages come with a personal twist, since Gartliz has personal contact with the recipients, their families or their military superiors.
“We personalize these,” said the volunteer, who adds everything from properly sized clothing to cards, copies of local newspapers and T-shirts from shops around town to the parcels.
Post #166 has been running the program for about eight years, he said, and sent approximately 55 packages to 28 soldiers last year.
“One guy might get two or three boxes just to himself,” Garlitz explained.
The idea for the care packages came when several locals serving in the military needed items they couldn’t get abroad, he said.
“A lot of them, I know… and some of these guys are on their third tour in the last eight years,” Garlitz said.
The packages also go to soldiers who don’t get a lot of other mail, he said.
Garlitz maintains contact with sergeants at the Dover Air Force Base and other locations, as well as parents and spouses and members of the legion who put him in contact with their soldiers abroad.
“We get a point of contact, and we can actually e-mail (each other),” he said. “It’s a personal thing now.”
Items being accepted are food: jerky, nuts, hard pretzels, powdered drinks, cereal, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, fritos, canned tuna and chicken, gum, hard candy, granola bars, oatmeal, dry soups and macaroni and cheese, crackers and Hostess Cake products; toiletries: wipes, eye drops, cleansers, sanitizers, nasal sprays, body wash, lotion, hair gel, combs, hair pins, small deodorants, mouthwash, small tissue packets, paper towels, sun block, liquid soap, bandages, cough drops, shaving cream in tubes, cotton balls, sotton swabs, razors and feminine hygiene products, and other items like tan and green T-shirts, laundry detergent, small flashlights, white or black socks, air freshener, pens, pencils, cards, paper, black sunglasses, Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, playing cards, board games, yo-yos, poker chips, dice and patriotic knick-knacks.
Because of regulations, please do not donate home-baked goods, glass bottles or jars, aerosol cans or sprays, home-canned food, candles, lighters, matches, hotel samples, VHS or cassette tapes, live plants, tobacco, knives, nudity items, hard cover books or music CDs.
The collection runs through Dec. 7 and can be made at Post #166 at 2308 Philadelphia Ave. in Ocean City; at the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce at 11031 Cathell Road in Berlin ; at Boggs-Disharoon Post #123 at 10111 Old Ocean City Road in Berlin; and at the Bank of Ocean City at 59th Street and on Route 50 in West Ocean City.
Monetary donations for the project should be earmarked “troop support” and mailed to Post #166, P.O. Box 63, Ocean City, Md. 21843.
For more information or to arrange for a pick up, contact Sarge Garlitz at 443-735-1942 or firstname.lastname@example.org , or John Granite at 302-494-7499 or email@example.com .
Garlitz welcomes those with family members or friends serving in the military to contact him about sending a care package.