Manatee Operation Troop Support is seeking the names of Island troops deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq or Kuwait in order to add them to the list of troops receiving packages from home.
MOTS is a non-profit organization begun by King Middle School teacher Jim Comkowycz in 2007 after his son, Jeff, was wounded and returned home to Walter Reed hospital. Currently MOTS serves 61 troops from Manatee and Sarasota counties.
“The first month, we send them snacks and toiletries,” explained Rose QuinBare, a Waste Management representative who volunteers with MOTS. “In the package is a request form that they can fill out to ask for specific items that they want.”
The second package will contain snacks and toiletries as well as the requested items. Each soldier receives a package every month. It costs the organization $15 to mail each package.
One soldier recently wrote, “Thank you so much for the wonderful care packages. I have been sharing everything with the other guys in my unit.
“We can never say thank you enough for all the hard work you do at home to let us have a little bit of comfort over here.”
In addition to names of troops, the organization is seeking donations of items to put in the packages and money to mail the packages.
The following is a shopping list of individual-sized food items for packages: beef jerky, Slim Jims, lemonade and iced tea powder mixes, roasted nuts, trail and nut mixes, power bars, Propel and Gatorade powder packs, candy bars, animal crackers, cookies and crackers, tuna in foil pouches, oysters and sardines, spices including salt and pepper, ramen noodles, instant oatmeal, canned pasta, soups and stews with pop tops, fruit snacks and condiment packets.
Other items needed include vitamins, icy/hot patches, scissors, freezer-grade zip lock bags, disposable cameras, duct tape, cushioned insoles, shower shoes/flip flops, Chap Stick, gum, battery powered fans, flashlights/ headlamps, AA and D batteries, CDRs, flash drives, phone cards, board games, hand-held electronic games and sporting goods, stress balls, sunglasses, fly paper, insect repellant, dental floss and triple-edge razors.
Donated items can be dropped off at the MOTS office in the Lakewood Business Park at 430132nd St. W., Suite C-20, Bradenton, or call the MOTS office at 782-0748 for a pickup.