The website of Florida Veterans Programs and Projects, Inc.

The website of Florida Veterans Programs and Projects, Inc.

Coquina Crossing Soldier Support

This project started as a Veterans and Residents project in the 55+ community of Coquina Crossing.  The first boxes were sent out in October of 2006 and since then we have sent hundreds of boxes of individual care packages, unit packages, and humanitarian goods for the soldiers to distribute to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly the children.
We draw our contacts from the website The soldier contacts distribute the boxes to individual soldiers at their discretion if they are marked "For Any Soldier" or open them and distribute the contents according to need if they are not marked.  This way, those soldiers who are needing a morale boost get to open their own package.
It is a common misconception that the government supplies everything that is needed on a daily basis by our troops.  On large bases with large BX/PX's it is possible for a soldier to obtain just about anything needed or wanted.  However, many troops are in areas where supplies come in on "rolling BX's" which are just trucks with the store inside.  They are sparsely stocked.  Two of the units which we are currently sponsoring are in harsh rugged mountains of northeast Afghanistan where supplies have to be brought in on a sling by helicoptor.  It sometimes takes as long as 2 months in the winter in order for their mail, etc to get to them.  Then there are those soldiers who have no family to support them, or whose families cannot afford to.  Those are the ones who we hope to reach with individual care packages.
Many of the individual care packages are marked "For a Wounded Soldier" and are sent to a hospital contact.  We also send other items such as sheets and stuffed animals for the hospital or medicines donated by local doctors for distribution by our medics while working with the local peoples in their clinics.  Coquina Crossing Soldier Support funds have also enabled our Coquina Quilters to make and sent 65 quilts for the wounded to Landstuhl Hospital in Germany.
Many items are donated, however, in order to have everything needed to make up nice care packages some items must be purchased out of our funds.  In addition, and most importantly, the postage is quite expensive.  Individual care packages currently go in flat rate boxes at $8.95 and larger boxes used for magazines, snacks, etc for the use of the whole unit go for $10.95.  Other boxes used for sending bulky items such as clothing can cost anywhere from $12 up.
Our goal is to support our troops both physically and spiritually by sending wanted and needed items for their use and items that they can have the pleasure of giving to the locals.  Our troops enjoy the smiles generated by the gifts to the locals as well as benefitting from their good will who, after having won their trust, will act as interpretors, guides, and spies for our soldiers.
All monies generated through fund raising is used for postage and items needed for the troops.  Very little of our funding is used for operating expenses as most is donated by our volunteers.
This grassroots effort is spreading and people throughout the North Florida area are now participating to show our troops that they are not forgotten in a foreign land far from home and loved ones.  Our main goal is not only to supply them with wants and needs while in the war zone, but to boost morale and thereby help to prevent depression needing treatment after they come home. We also know that our troops are doing a lot of humanitarian work and we feel we are a part of leaving this a better world by helping them with items to give to the local people and children

- Patty Worsham

I would like to thank these St. Augustine businesses for supporting our efforts:
Jimco Vac & Water Treatment
Sally's Roses and More
Belk's Dept Store
Dr. William Oktavec
Dr. Brett Cutler
Rowe Family Eyecare
Big Lots
Fran's Knitting Boutique
Karla Pacetti, Mary Kay Cosemtics Director
St Augustine Family Dentistry (They have a drop box for contributions inside the office.  Checks may be left at the desk.)

The artwork above is Three Of The 101st by SFC Peter G. Varisano.