Helping Soldiers - Thanks to Women's Club of West Broward
By David Volz / August, 2011

The opportunity to help members of the U.S. military stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan appeals to Linda Boyd, president of the Women's Club of West Broward, and fellow members. The organization is collecting items for America's Moms for Soldiers, an organization dedicated to sending care packages to soldiers who don't receive letters or care packages from friends and relatives in the U.S. Commanders and chaplains identify the soldiers to receive these items. The organization sends roughly 1,000 care packages each month.

Members of the club recently packed snacks, dear hero letters, hand sanitizers, hard candies and other items. "Two or three times a year, we do a large collection and we have helped America's Moms for Soldiers by packing items," said Boyd. "The soldiers are serving our country. We realized many soldiers don't have anyone sending them letters."

For Boyd and other members of the club, the effort is personal. She said, "My husband served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. At that time, military personnel were not as accepted as they are today."

The Women's Club of West Broward has also been active with other military personnel. Club members have adopted soldiers. "One of the women who works with me has a niece in Iraq," said Boyd. "Because we know the woman, we try to personalize what we are sending. We would send her a special card. We collect items for the soldiers and send them a package. If we have a friend with a son or daughter in the military, we will send them special items."

Sometimes, if the soldier is well known to the club, a special t-shirt or scarf or some other personalized item will be sent. "We might send a soldier's favorite cookies," said Boyd. "If we know when a birthday is, we will send a soldier a birthday card."

Members will take books, socks and other items to patients at the Veterans' Administration Hospital. Club members make special meal trays for veterans and thank them for serving the nation. "We have done the same thing for veterans at nursing homes," said Boyd. "We put the word out with friends and collect items that are needed."

Cynthia Thompson, vice president of operations for America's Moms for Soldiers, appreciates the efforts made by the club on behalf of the organization. She said that America's Moms for Soldiers developed a campaign to attract local organizations to pack at least 100 boxes of items for troops overseas. While the response wasn't strong, the effort drew a number of volunteers who decided to participate.

Those who work with military personnel say it is important for troops stationed abroad to receive care packages to know they are supported. These women are making vital connections with the men and women who help to protect U.S. interests in faraway countries.

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