Recently I was asked what the importance was of Iowa Troop Pantry having a blog when all we do is send care packages. I found this to be a strange question because I believed that many people who were aware of the Iowa Troop Pantry also knew that sending care packages was only part of our mission.
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?
We have always had a blog though it was primarily used to share only Iowa Troop Pantry happenings and events. 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. Though, after closer examination we felt this was not enough.
Iowans, through the inherent nature of people living in the Midwest, appear to have always had a respect for the military. This opinion has waned in particular areas for reason unbeknownst to us (In Response to Thomas Walker of Iowa State University). But, we amazed to discover that people don’t know to what extent the military impacts their everyday lives, how things in the military work, or even relevant days in American history that are still incredibly important to who we are as a nation. We set out to make a blog that incorporated all of these aspects and helped ignite a spark and a new appreciation for the Armed Forces.
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.
Blog posts range from current events and psychological studies to ‘this day in history’ and ‘who is the Secretary of Defense?’ This broad range of post genres allows Iowa Troop Pantry to cater to a large group of readers. Our posts are sometimes hard-hitting and emotional (Empty Chairs at Thanksgiving Tables) and some are light and informative (Combat First-Aid: Tampons and Super-Glue?).
In March of 2012 we added a discussion forum to the Iowa Troop Pantry blog. This forum, United We Stand: Iowa’s Communities Come Together, is meant to create a place for those experiencing deployment or challenges of military life to unite and have a community to reach out to. Through my experiences with the Iowa Troop Pantry and other projects I have learned that military life is best lived within a community. The military is one of the biggest families in the world and everybody needs to stick together to get through the rough patches.
We hope this post has shed some light on why Iowa Troop Pantry maintains a blog. It is very important to us and we hope that every person that clicks into our page learns at least one thing and maybe, just maybe appreciates our men and women in uniform just a little bit more.
President, Iowa Troop Pantry