Many deployed soldiers received special Christmas gifts in 2013, courtesy of Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie New York Chapter 4 in Chautauqua County.
This year, the organization sent 578 boxes filled with non-perishable food and other items such as hand cream and soaps. Postage costs totaled almost $8,700, which the group met through fundraisers and donations.
Westfield's First Presbyterian Church Mission Committee chairman Henry "Hank" Lynn, reported that a monetary gift of $200 to the Blue Star Mothers was made to go toward shipping.
Blue Star Mothers accept a check from Westfield First Presbyterian Church’s Mission Committee Chairman Henry Lynn. The gift was to help with the cost of postage to send Christmas gifts to deployed service men and women. Blue Star members pictured are: Karen Baglia, Jane Chapman, Barb Kittle, Susan Rowley, Cindy Reidy, Cecelia Nosel, Tami Downey, Rose Soldano, Michele King and Darlene Swan.
According to Blue Star member Barbara Kittle, the group "adopted" Water-town's Fort Drum and sent each individual member a Christmas package.
"We had an amazing year (in 2013) with our Christmas Care packages," she said. "Thank you to everyone who had anything to do with collecting items (for the boxes), donations and helping out with our organizational night and our packing day.
Kittle said that in addition to Christmas gifts, the organization sends packages on Easter and cards for Valentine's Day, many of which come from area school children. She added that any family that has a family member who is a deployed member of the military should contact the Blue Star Mothers.
The next get-together of the Blue Star Mothers is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, beginning with breakfast at 9 a.m. followed by a business meeting at the Airport Restaurant at 3163 Terminal Drive, Jamestown.
"All are welcome," said Kittle.
Blue Star Mothers present when Lynn presented the Presbyterian check were Karen Baglia, Jane Chapman, Barb Kittle, Susan Rowley, Cindy Reidy, Cecelia Nosel, Tami Downey, Rose Soldano, Michele King and Darlene Swan.
To contact Blue Star, telephone 569-4543, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to Facebook, Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie NY 4.