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Saint Michael’s Women’s Club Sends Gifts to Troops

Enrico and Pat Ghelli delivering the boxes and boxes of Treats for Troops at the Mendon Post Office. Contributed photos

Saint Michael's Catholic Women's Club of Mendon has been collecting and distributing treats to American troops during the holiday season for years. Their mission started with just over 300 pounds of treats—20 boxes—in 2004 and has increased in scope every year since. A record 85 large boxes of goodies were mailed to US soldiers this year weighing 1221 pounds, a new Operation Treats for Troops record, far exceeding last year's shipment of 72 boxes. Over three tons of Treats for Troops have been shipped to our service men and women during the past seven years.

"We have been doing this since 2004 and it gets better every year," said Ann Halsing, a Women's Club member. "My grandson received our packages when he was in Iraq. He thought that the treats were awesome, sharing them with his buddies and the Iraqi children."

Another club member, who said she was "just overwhelmed," was Diane Grady. "I couldn't believe the generosity of everyone. I was so happy that Cindy Sarcione from our parish was able to help pack her son Michael's box of goodies. Michael is in the Army and that personal touch will feel special to him. The effort from the parish teenagers exceeded my expectations. It's the least that we can do for our boys and girls who are putting their lives on the line for us." she said.

Watching the efficient organizing and packing process take place in the basement of Saint Michael the Archangel Church on that packing Sunday was an eye-opener. A casual observer would agree that the Women's Club is very organized. They know what they are doing. After all, they have had years of practice.

The treats are first separated into like items to insure that each soldier receives a nice assortment. Boxes are then lined up along the back wall and the "helpers" start by placing the bubble-wrap on the bottom, followed by a selection of goodies. The boxes were then topped with the personalized notes/cards and a nice note of appreciation to the soldiers thanking them for all that they do for us. The top layer of bubble-wrap was followed by the cover and finally protective taping to secure each carton.

"This annual project is very rewarding," said Sally Riendeau. "Coming from an Army family I especially love how everyone wants to give back to those who give us our freedom. It really opened my son's eyes seeing the total involvement of those that participated in this mission."

"Many families contribute one way or another to this great cause" said chairperson Elaine Trainor. "I am thankful for the continued support from both St. Michael the Archangel and Holy Angels (Upton) parishes as well as from the local communities. People were extremely generous with their donations. We appreciate all of the monetary contributions, which were collected to cover the cost of postage. The response to our request for funds to pay for shipping was overwhelming. We could not have done this if it were not for all of the people who participated. Our volunteers were fantastic. It was especially nice to see how many of our high school students got involved. We really need the help."

This event continues to be a great success year after year. Even during these hard economic times, Pat Roy and Debbie Moreau agreed this year's response has been fantastic. The families of the parishes and surrounding communities donate treats and take the time to make personalized cards expressing their heartfelt holiday cheer. 

Attempting to interview Women's Club members was a challenge; the women involved never stop working for their parish or for causes such as Operation Treats for Troops. They are always on the go. Where do they get all that energy?

Pat Ghelli, a club member, characterized the philosophy of the group saying, "We believe that good things happen when you have a strong foundation."

St. Michael's Catholic Women's Club thanks everyone who participated in this year's Treats for Troops Holiday Package Drive. Everybody was extremely generous with their time and donations, a tribute to our men and women serving our country.

Volunteers at St. Michaels Church are getting ready to pack

Treats for Troops.


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