Campaign is under way to help sailors call home for holidays

It has been more than three years since the Bush administration began its “War on Terror.” As a majority of Americans now want the troops withdrawn, the men and women risking their lives overseas are now doing so in a less than favorable climate.

To help boost morale overseas, Willow Glen residents Allan and Karen Jones and members of their church, Communities of Hope, are spearheading a campaign to deliver care packages to all 5,600 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower by Christmas.

Communities of Hope has been supporting troops overseas for more than 1 1Ž2 years, sending out packages every few months to servicemen and­women with friends or family members in the San Jose community. However, this is the largest project the church has ever undertaken. The organization chose to adopt the USS Eisenhower because Brett Adams, the son of Communities of Hope members Gene and Brenda Adams, serves aboard the ship.

The packages will include dice and playing cards donated by local casinos. The church’s primary goal and largest expense is to provide a 20-minute phone card for each sailor on board. The group’s goal is to enable all 5,600 personnel on board to call home for the holidays. The cost of the calling cards is estimated at $115,000. The funds will have to be raised by the end of the summer. Packages must be prepared and shipped by Sept. 1 in order to reach the troops in time for the holidays. Each $20 donation will sponsor a phone card for one sailor.

Allan Jones remains optimistic and adamant about the importance of the mission and is determined to make it work.

“You don’t ever want to forget the sacrifice that these men and women are making for all of us,” he says. “We appreciate it. That’s the reason for the care packages.”

Many within the community have volunteered not only their money but their time. In fact the entire Pioneer High School football team has stepped up to assemble the packages and assist in the shipment.

To sponsor a sailor aboard the USS Eisenhower or donate, visit the Communities of Hope website at http://www.commsofhope.org.

This piece originally appeared in the Willow Glen Resident.

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