More than a half ton of supplies were sent out of the Swiftships facilities to Battle Company in Afghanistan in the first of what is expected to become monthly shipments dubbed “Project Comfort and Relief”.
Company spokeswoman Morgan Rhoades has recruited Omega Waste Management in Patterson, Shear Elegance in Berwick and Berwick Elementary joined the shipbuilders in collecting the 1,100 pounds of hygiene supplies and non-perishable foods to the company of an acting platoon sergeant whose family lives in Berwick. Swiftships will be covering 100% of the shipping fees for the supplies raised.
Kaylee Robinson, wife of nine-year Army veteran Joel Robinson, said she and her mother, Diana Briehn wanted to show their support of the troops her husband is serving with and bring them a little bit of the comforts of home as they serve their country in the isolated areas of Afghanistan.
Robinson said the area her husband is serving is primitive and they often must go without some of the things most Americans take for granted, such as a clean, warm place to shower.
“Baby wipes and soap are always items that they can use,” Robinson said. “Hard candies, snacks, deodorant, toothpaste and mouthwash are also things they would appreciate.”
Berwick Elementary School had a pre-Thanksgiving drive to collect supplies to send in the shipment, said Principal Debbie Tompkins.
“We received an outpouring of support for the troops. We had boxes everywhere and we still have donations coming in,” Tompkins said. The principal said the school will continue to accept donations until the Christmas break.
Other schools have agreed to participate in Project Comfort and Relief after receiving an email from Berwick school secretary Kit Guidroz asking if they wanted to become involved. Pam Mahaffey, secretary at Bayou Vista Elementary, said her school will begin accepting donations from their students and the community when they return from the Christmas break on Jan. 6. Hattie Watts Elementary fourth-graders in the Make a Difference Club will spearhead that school’s involvement, said Brandy Breaux, assistant principal.
Rhoades said others are expected to join in future shipments. She said Oceaneering has agreed to send out supplies in next month’s delivery.
People in the community that want to show their support and donate supplies can drop them off at any of the participating businesses or schools. The supplies will be gathered together at Swiftships Shipbuilders, where packaging and shipment will take place.
Joel Robinson and Battle Company left Fort Drum in Watertown, N.Y., for Afghanistan on Oct. 31 and they are expected to be deployed for nine months, his wife said.