Organizations in the Pioneer Valley collect gifts for troops overseas

Local News

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Servicemen and women from western Massachusetts who can’t come home for the holidays are not being forgotten.

For the second consecutive year, the Pioneer Valley USO has teamed with the Chicopee Moose Family Center, gathering donated bags and boxes filled with stockings and other personal items for men and women in uniform overseas.

Executive Director of Pioneer Valley USO, Allen Tracy, told 22News, “Every day taking care of the troops is a great day. They sacrifice so much it’s no bother. We’ve got to take care of them.”

As cars pulled into the Moose Family Center parking lot with gifts for the troops stationed all around the world, this fraternal organization was proud to have come on board.

“A lot of them won’t be around for the holiday, so it’s kind of a care package for them. The USO does a great job, they put together a great care package for my son when he was overseas,” said Mark Canty, Executive Director of the Moose Family Center in Chicopee.

Some donors were experiencing the excitement of giving their first gift through this USO sponsored program. Kathy Johnson came from East Longmeadow to deliver her bagful of gifts that will be so appreciated over the holidays.

“Well I joined the Moose Center and they have a lot of excellent things to help other people, so I wanted to do something good. I gathered up a lot of stuff that I would only donate somewhere else, it was a good cause,” Johnson said.

The level of giving became so intense that the USO was glad to have a second van standing by to fill with this outpouring of generosity. The personal items contained in these bags and boxes will be in the hands of our men and women in uniform overseas in time for the holiday season.

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