Jordan’s Initiative Care Package Drive

Nadine Cruz, who works in graphic design in the Production Department at Dan’s Papers, has a brother, Marc Jeffrey Cruz, who is a Corporal in the Second Recon Battalion of the United States Marine Corp. He visited our offices in Bridgehampton when he came home from a deployment in Afghanistan in early June. We all welcomed him and thanked him for serving our country. Nadine keeps us updated on his life from time to time. He is stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and will be returning to Afghanistan around July 2012.

I asked Nadine about the care packages that she and her family and friends send to Marc because we received a press release about care packages from Jordan’s Initiative, a nonprofit foundation on the East End that aids deployed military, veterans, and their families. Through November 18, you might come across bright red collection boxes at places like Bridgehampton National Bank Branches, Apple Bank in Sag Harbor and East Hampton, St. Andrews Church in Sag Harbor, The Ross School, and Epic Marshal Arts at 75 Main Street in Sag Harbor to name a few. The boxes are part of the organization’s Third Annual Care Packages For Our Troops drive and the items collected will be shipped to Afghanistan on November 19.

Last year, Dan’s Papers sent a large donation of items to Marc’s unit. “On a regular basis,” Nadine said, “my family sends a mix of items. Also, now you can electronically write to the soldiers, which is great because we could send him pictures, etc., and he would receive it within a few days depending on where he was.”

I asked her what items were at the top of Marc’s must-have list: “Beef jerky, Red Bull, things to keep busy, things to keep warm, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, candy—really anything you think a boy would want,” she said laughing.

When Marc received the care package from Dan’s Papers last year, it arrived when the unit had just run out of everything. She said the packages were extremely meaningful to the troops. “When you send a lot of stuff in a care package everything gets shared with all the boys so you’re not just helping out one soldier. And even if it’s things they might not get to use, it’s so good for them to get these packages because we’re sending support and little bit of home to them over the holidays when they could use it the most.” She added, “It doesn’t even need to be a big donation—anything—even a card saying thank you is great, just anything to show your support for the soldiers.”

Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, a rifleman with the 1st battalion 9th marines of the United States Marine Corps, was killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq on April 22, 2008. A 19-year-old Sag Harbor native, Jordan acted without hesitation or concern for his own life to save the lives of his fellow Marines. He was posthumously awarded several medals, including the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross. His legacy lives on with Jordan’s Initiative.

Here is a list of the items the troops really need. It’s stuff that is easy to pick up the next time you’re buying groceries, and easy enough to drop off in one of the many boxes around the villages. Food items include candy, coffee singles, packaged cookies, gum/mints, hot chocolate, microwave popcorn, powdered drink mixes, trail mix, power bars, Slim Jims, microwave soups, Cheese Whiz, powdered Gatorade and Tabasco sauce. Personal items needed: bug repellent wipes, deodorant, eye drops, foot powder, hand wipes, hand lotion, Q-tips, mouth wash, shaving items, sunscreen, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower gel/soap, Chapstick, batteries, playing cards, travel games, socks, flashlights, Ziploc bags, Sudoku games, children’s toys, pens and paper, cushioned insoles, clothespins, laundry detergent, car deodorizers, and disposable cameras.

You can also make a cash donation, or donate your time to assist volunteers in collecting and packaging on the morning of November 19 at the Ambulance Barn, Columbia Street, Sag Harbor. Here’s one more way you can help: Make a $20 donation to sponsor a package and your name will be on a card inside the gift.

More information can be had by calling Michelle Severance or Chris Haerter at 725-2489.

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