As with most people and organizations, the turning of a new year prompts some form of self-reflection and evaluation upon what has been achieved in the previous year. 2011 was the Iowa Troop Pantry’s first full year in existence (having been founded in July of 2010) and we feel that it has not only accomplished its goals for the year, but exceeded them.
In January of 2011 there were nearly 3,000 Iowa National Guard soldiers deployed to Afghanistan. We were able to raise funds and gather supplies from the community to send multiple boxes to each of our enrollees. When it was announced that the Iowa National Guard would return in the summer, we knew that our enrollments would greatly decrease. We were ecstatic that there would not be so many Iowans deployed, but knew that the public might believe that Iowa Troop Pantry’s job was complete. This is untrue: we will continue our mission to send care packages and letters to as many deployed service members from Iowa as possible until they no longer need us.
In 2011, Iowa Troop Pantry incorporated public awareness into its mission. We wanted to make sure the public knew that there were still Iowans deployed and that they still needed supplies. Our most dire requests have come from regular enlisted service members who do not receive adequate supplies from the military. It is extremely important for the Iowa Troop Pantry to help the public understand the purpose in the supplies that we send. Why do we send men tampons? Why are socks always included? Don’t they get enough socks from the military? Baby wipes, really? Do they actually care about cards or letters they receive from strangers?
The blog has been our most powerful tool in which to carry out the public awareness portion of what Iowa Troop Pantry does. It includes information on our organization, how people can become involved, an event calendar to keep everybody aware of what is happening, and articles on topics relevant to deployment and sending care packages. We urge our readers to share the blog with as many people as possible. This request is not only to increase the visibility of Iowa Troop Pantry, but perhaps one or two blog posts will speak to someone and they may gain a stronger understanding of the importance in sending care packages and supporting our service members – regardless of political or philosophical opinions.
Of course, none of these accomplishments would be possible without the work of our volunteers and support of local communities. Iowa Troop Pantry is entirely volunteer run and coordinated. All events ideas come from the public and our volunteer force. Iowa Troop Pantry is truly a grass-roots organization and that is made possible by for those individuals and organizations who see the value in sending care packages and love to deployed service members. We offer a sincere ‘thank you’ and hope that Iowa Troop Pantry can continue to grow stronger with a broader volunteer base in the coming year.
We are always looking for suggestions and ideas of how to make Iowa Troop Pantry better. If anybody has blog post ideas or something they would like to share, we would like to know about it. This is a volunteer organization and we want to hear more from our volunteers apart from their help with events and sending care packages.
Please contact us at any time via e-mail (email@example.com), calling (319-430-8118), commenting on the blog (www.iowatrooppantry.com), or posting on the Facebook group wall (http://www.facebook.com/groups/IowaTroopPantry/). We can’t wait to hear from you!
Wishing everybody a Happy New Year!
Maria Tyson, President
Iowa Troop Pantry