Eighteen members of the United States military are each getting a care package thanks to some community-oriented Mattituck High School students.
As part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Community Service Organization (CSO) participated in Adopt-a-Platoon, an initiative of the Brookhaven Veterans Association of the Brookhaven National Lab. This program lets community members help provide service members overseas with necessary items, such as socks, Chapstick, disposable razors, instant soups and hot chocolate.
The platoon the high school students sponsored is a group of 18 men and women based mainly in Saudi Arabia, but who also move throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, said Andrea Nydegger, a BOCES student assistance counselor and social worker in the district.
Students collected items from Jan. 11 to Jan. 20, then packaged and shipped the care packages during the remainder of the week. Ms. Nydegger said that students worked on the project the week following Martin Luther King Jr. Day since schools are closed that Monday.
Members of CSO and SADD sent home a letter with students asking for donated items. In an effort to maximize donations, SADD offered a bagel breakfast to the junior high homeroom that brought in the most goods, she said (Sonya Brigham’s seventh graders won the challenge).
The organizations also asked the students who do the morning announcements to talk about about Adopt-A-Platoon.
“They did a really nice morning show clip,” Ms. Nydegger said. “They took the time out to educate the kids that these are men and women that volunteer to serve our country and help support our freedom in the world.”
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service encourages people to “work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems,” according to the program’s website. Ms. Nydegger said the day inspires people to “make [the holiday] a day of service instead of a day of work.”
Interested individuals or organizations can go to the the national service website, enter their zip code and see a list of local volunteer opportunities. SADD and CSO’s project was sponsored by the Town of Southold Youth Bureau, Ms. Nydegger said.
“It was really refreshing to see them very excited to support the troops,” she said of the service project. “It was one of the most wonderful things.”
Photo Caption: Mattituck Jr./Sr. High School students with some of the items they sent to the troops (Credit: Courtesy).