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Boxes for Soldiers Care Package Drive begins next Saturday, May 18

WARWICK. Donations needed for items not always available at Post or Base Exchanges.




  • Provided photo Food, hygiene and other products not always available at Post or Base Exchanges can be dropped off at various locations throughout Orange County, including the Albert Wisner Library in Warwick. From left, Rob Bowen, Albert Wisner Library Assistant to the Director Kathleen Georgalas and Kendall Kless.




Beginning Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 18, until Tuesday, May 28, the day after Memorial Day, residents are asked to help send some much needed items to members of the military serving overseas.

Food, hygiene and other products not always available at Post or Base Exchanges can be dropped off at various locations throughout Orange County, including the Town of Warwick.

The idea for a care package drive began in 2014 during the funeral of Kevin Kless, a recent Temple University graduate at that time and victim of a brutal attack in Philadelphia.

Pay it forward

A few months after the funeral his mother, Kendall Kless, received a letter from the mother of one of her son's friends, then serving in Afghanistan.

The woman's son had learned of the scholarship fund that had been established in Kevin Kless' name, and had instructed his mom to send a donation on his behalf of $500.

Kless then decided she wanted to pay it forward for military service men and women serving overseas and came up with the idea of a care package drive.

Later, Rob Bowen, a Navy veteran who had volunteered to help service members and veterans, learned of the new program and soon became a partner in what was then an annual Holiday Season care package drive.

"But we did not have a drive in 2018," said Kless, "because we decided to move the drive's time frame from the holidays to around Memorial Day. Troops typically receive a lot of goodies around the holidays but not as much during the year. Also, although not related directly to the homicide of my son Kevin, it is because of Kevin that the drive began in 2012. His birthday is in May, so to run the drive in May very nicely ties the two together."

HERoes inDEED

This year, the care packages will contain Girl Scout cookies from 500 boxes donated by the Heart of Hudson Girl Scout Council!

"We have also received a generous donation from HERoes inDEED, the foundation in Jaimie Leonard's memory, and Keller-Williams in Middletown," said Kless. "We sincerely thank them for their contributions."

Essentials

Anyone wishing to make a donation can write a check to: Boxes For Soldiers c/o Rob Bowen, Farmers Insurance, ShopRite Plaza, 78 Brookside Avenue, Chester, NY 10818.

For additional information call Rob Bowen at 845-610-5700.

And anyone interested in helping sort items and pack can contact Kendall Kless by email at: klessk@hotmail.com.

- Roger Gavan



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