DES MOINES, Iowa- Local moms packed holiday care boxes for deployed Iowa troops at the Baymont Hotel on Saturday.

“I legit have goosebumps. This is everything, this is everything we’ve been working for. And to know that this many people care about Iowans in the military who won’t be home for the holidays, it brings a tear to my eye,” said Jen Fletcher, the Vice President of Blue Star Moms.

Blue Star Moms is a nonprofit organization made up of mothers and step-mothers with children in the military.

They’ve organized the annual Holiday Care Package Project, where they collect donations to package holiday boxes for troops.

Since 2017, they’ve sent more that 1100 packages to deployed troops. This year, their goal was to send 500 boxes, but exceeded their goal and packed 575.

The boxes will take 3-4 weeks to reach the troops stationed all around the world.

The boxes are filled with nonperishable foods, toiletries, recreational activities, and heartwarming messages.

Fletcher said, “It’s honestly one of my favorite days of the year because we put a lot of work into this. We raise a lot of money, we get a lot of donations, and when it’s all done, it’s so fulfilling to see the results of our entire groups effort.”

Community volunteers also play a huge role in helping package these boxes. Southeast Polk freshman Andrew Alatorre is one of the volunteers who helped at the event on Saturday.

He collected donations from his school to help provide more supplies for Blue Star Moms. Andrew is no stranger to collecting donations for troops. Since second grade, he helped organize fundraisers at his school to donate to military members.

“It always brings a smile to my face seeing how happy knowing my brother and other troops can be,” said Andrew.