Editorial: Make a difference for our soldiers serving overseas

By on July 9, 2009

As belts continue to tighten in the midst of a struggling economy, the level of philanthropy is suffering along with budgets.

Yet, for many, the things that can make the most difference cost little, if anything.

For example, Fox Valley Troop Support, based in St. Charles, offers support to U.S. military service members deployed overseas by sending care packages and letters to them.

The organization offers a program to help families learn how, with just the time spent to write a handwritten letter, they can make an immeasurable impact on the days of our troops serving overseas.

The program, set for Tuesday, July 14, at 7 p.m., “will guide participants on how to write a heartfelt message to brighten a soldier’s day and will provide information on how citizens/students can help prepare care packages to troops stationed overseas.”

The event will be led by the organization’s co-founder, Sarah Giachino. According to the group’s website, www.fvts.org, Giachino became active in supporting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan after discovering the impact letters from home had on her father as he served in WWII. The site says that in 2001, she discovered hundreds of love letters between her parents throughout her father’s deployment from D-Day through the Battle of the Bulge. Recognizing the impact remaining connected to home had on her father, she began sending hundreds of letters and care packages to the veterans currently serving overseas.

The group’s other co-founder, Kathy Tobusch, became active in her support of our troops after her sons were deployed to Iraq. She regularly sent them letters and care packages, and through them, learned about the many soldiers serving our nation that never received anything from home.

Once the two women learned of each other, Fox Valley Troop Support was born.

Visit the site, and it will take but a minute to realize how little has to be spent to make a tremendous difference in the lives of those willing to make the greatest sacrifice on our behalf. A few extra items thrown in the shopping cart, a few minutes to write a letter, and you have made a difference in someone’s life.

Making a difference does not have to require a budget-breaking donation or a time commitment beyond what you are able to make. Oftentimes, literally a few dollars and a few moments of time—and the act of spending that time telling someone, “I’m thinking of you, and wanted to say thank you” can have an impact that goes beyond dollar amounts and formal volunteer activities.

For information about the July 14 event held in the Community Room at the Geneva History Center, 113 S. 3rd Street, Geneva, call (630) 232-4951. For information about the group itself, other volunteer opportunities, or how you can turn just a few dollars and a few moments of time into a soldier’s brighter day, visit www.fvts.org.