ALGONA, Iowa — An effort by one Algona mother to send a care package to her soldier-son, has grown to now sending packages to up to 450 soldiers on deployment at Christmas time.
“Currently my son is actually one of them that is deployed,” said Mandy Studer, of Wesley, in Kossuth County. “His unit that’s over there right now, and I want to send him a Christmas care packages, I thought let me call the guard and see how many are actually over there and from there it just expanded.”
The VFW Hall was the assembly plant site, where hundreds of donated boxes had been decorated by students with encouraging messages, and US flags.
“We did a drive at school where kids brought some of the supplies in our FFA program donated $1000 so we went shopping for some of the supplies as well,” said Mindy Spear, a faculty member at Algona High School.
“I have a bunch of military people in my family so this is super important to me but I like to help out,” said Kayla Thompson, a student at Algona High School.
“My great grandfather was a World War II vet, so this is important for us because we know that it’s hard for them to go away for such a long time,” said Grace Winkleman, a student at Algona Garrigan High School.
“It was very important for us be a part of this project because it’s a community project and schools are such an instrumental part of our community,” said Christy Peterson, Algona Garrigan Principal.
The donations to the project surpassed expectations for Mandy Studer.
“This whole community around Kossuth County just went above and beyond,” said Studer. “When we started we had 310 boxes, probably gonna be 450, by the time we’re done and they’re going to go overseas.”
Studer is working with the Iowa National Guard to deliver the packages.
“I’ve been deployed three times, two of them overseas and one was stateside deployment,” said Captain Anthony Dvorak of the Iowa National Guard. “Receiving packages with your name on it from your hometown really kind of brings a sense of enlightenment, and a sense of joy that you can’t get from anything else.”