Written by Tim Talley
Willimantic, Conn. Fifteen members of People Helping People (PHP), a community engagement student group at Eastern Connecticut State University, along with schoolchildren from Sweeney Elementary School, will host an event to show their support for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at Sweeney Elementary School. With the holiday season in mind, students will design T-shirts with children's hand prints; create Christmas cards and ornaments; package a small Christmas tree; and collect food and other holiday goodies to send to the troops.
To kick off the event, the children will discover more about the soldiers they are helping by looking at pictures of the soldiers in their uniforms and also on the battlefield. Eastern students will read letters they have received from the soldiers explaining to the children exactly what it is that they do on a day-to-day basis.
The T-shirts will show the student's support and gratitude towards the troops. Messages like "Thank You for Serving" will appear on the front of the apparel and have a soldier's name on the back with the children's handprints around the name. In addition to the T-shirts, the children will make holiday cards for all of the soldiers.
"We thought it would be a good idea to get younger students involved in volunteering through fun ways," said Suzanne Slater, head of PHP's youth committee. "We thought making cards would be a great idea. I have a 20-year-old friend in Iraq who is away from his family for the holidays. He's having a really hard time, as are all the other young men in his platoon. I am very excited and the soldiers are as well. I hope it makes their day and their time a little easier, knowing people do care about them and appreciate what they are doing for us."
PHP members participating in the event include Sarah Bojorquez '14 of Columbia, major is undeclared; Bria Bristol '14 of Brooklyn, majoring in psychology; Allie Brodeur '14 of Bristol, majoring in psychology; Kasey Cornwell '14 of Bristol, majoring in psychology; Alex Cross '12 of Manchester, majoring in history; Megan Duncan '14 of Danbury, majoring in psychology; Kelsey Hallock '14 of Aqubogue, NY, majoring in math; Rebecca Ingoglia '14 of Oakdale, majoring in visual arts; Cassie Marion '14 of Norwich, majoring in math; Suzanne Slater '13 of Brooklyn, majoring in psychology; Kate Smachetti '13 of Glastonbury, majoring in math; and Jamie Vallarelli '13 of Vernon, majoring in psychology.
Donated items can be dropped off from 6 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 in Room 219 of the Student Center or at the front desk in Occum Hall. uNon-perishable food such as chips, cookies and candy are needed.
For more information, contact Suzanne Slater at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 786-8426.