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4 Dec. 19, 2009 - Jan. 8, 2010
Community
www.SanTanSun.com
Local mom carries on troop support
by Laurie Fagen
Faith Steele of Chandler was motivated to help
members of the military when she had one, then
two sons serving overseas. She started a grassroots
effort in 2003 to gather food, clothing, hats and more
to send care packages to service members, and has
been sending 100 boxes every month since. Now the
nonprofi t East Valley Military Support Group has its
STSN photo
own website, a blog and has twice-monthly meetings
KEEP WARM: One of dozens
for its members.
of knitted stocking caps to be
On a recent December day, Steele surveyed the
worn under soldiers’ helmets.
items in her garage that are ready to be packaged and packages for mailing,
shipped. They include peanut butter, chips, crackers, a task usually done on
tuna, energy bars and other food; deodorant, soap, Saturdays. Meetings are
STSN photo
toothpaste and other sanitary items; plus books, held twice a month, at 7
TO SOLDIERS WITH LOVE: Shelves of food, clothing, personal items
magazines, DCDs and CDs. In addition, there were
and much more are ready for shipping to service members in
p.m. on the fi rst Tuesdays
hand-made Christmas stockings, fi lled with goodies,
Iraq and Afghanistan by the East Valley Military Support Group in
and third Wednesdays
along with individually wrapped, knitted caps for
Chandler.
STSN photo
at JB’s Restaurant on
HOLIDAY CHEER: Faith Steele,
soldiers to wear under their helmets. Children drew husband, who was a veteran. But he died two years Baseline Road near
founder of EVMSG, holds a
pictures on a large mural with messages to the troops ago this month, and emotions are still raw when she Gilbert Road. There are
couple of Christmas stockings
which will go out in one of the next boxes to Iraq or speaks of him. no membership fees,
ready to be sent.
Afghanistan. “It’s hard this time of year,” she says quietly, with and it’s open to anyone
One of the latest needs for which she is seeking tears in her eyes. “desiring to support our troops overseas.” She has
donations is clothing for wounded personnel. In addition, the secretary of the East Valley Military T-shirts for sale that say “proud to be a veteran” and
“When they are injured, their clothes are typically Support Group, Dainne Judd, passed away this “mom of a veteran.”
cut off,” Steele explains. “So we’re looking for summer, and Steele misses her greatly, saying they She’s grateful to those who routinely help keep her
sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks and underwear they were “very close.” shelves fi lled, especially in the current economy, and
can wear in the hospital and during rehab.” Steele’s children are scatted around the country, for those who faithfully send checks every month.
A list of needs is on the organization’s website, and including in North Carolina, California and Portland. Those with family or friends in the military can
Steele reminds people not to donate anything in glass She has fi ve great-grandchildren, four she has never send the address of a service member to be sent a
jars. met. She says she may travel to see them next year. package. Cash and check donations to help cover
Meanwhile, one son and his 15-year-old boy live with postage are also needed, and may be given online
Military in the family her, along with two dogs to keep her company. through the website, or mailed to Steele at 10 S. 132nd
Steele’s family has a long military history, and in the St., Chandler, AZ 85225. Steele can also be reached at
past 50 years, she has had someone from her family Donations accepted 480-471-6554 or FaithSteele215@yahoo.com, or visit
in the Air Force, Marines and Army, including her Volunteers are needed to help collect supplies and fi ll www.eastvalleymilitarysupportgroup.org.
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