She's helping servicemen and women one box at a time
Teresa Nelson’s desire to send a care box to one soldier has since blossomed into a mission for her.
Nelson, the Executive Director and Founder of Support our Soldiers, spoke about her newfound calling Nov. 16 to the Burleson Eumathian Club at Sammy’s Italian Bistro.
“It all began when I was asked to send a care box to a soldier since I had a gift basket business,” Nelson said. “Two weeks later I was asked to prepare and ship a box every two weeks; since the first box shipped was the best they had ever received.”
She then asked her husband if she could adopt a soldier and eventually the number increased to twelve soldiers.
“There were supplies taking over the house for the adopted soldiers and the idea of helping the military began to spread,” Nelson said.
In 2011, the community asked what she was doing and began dropping off supplies. That year she quit her business and started a 501C3, Support Our Soldiers, to carry on her mission. Since then SOS has shipped 50,000 pounds of supplies with 15,000 members of service helped.
Supplies usually go to soldiers in Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq, and Egypt where they often only have one meal a day if they are out on patrol or away from camp and have to depend on MREs. In remote locations the soldiers take three man showers with a bucket of water a week due to water rationing according to Nelson and thus wet wipes and/or towelettes are greatly appreciated. Nelson showed members photos of troops clutching pillows provided by SOS since bedding is a problem due to logistics and budgetary restraints.
SOS has an advisory board and about twenty to thirty volunteers, but Nelson does all the packing and speaking for the organization which has no corporate sponsors.
Every box is custom packed and costs $17.50 to ship and takes seven to ten days to arrive. Shipping is the biggest expense. Items shipped are often multi-vitamins, gel insoles, food and drink items, toiletries, bedding, and simple entertainment activities. A detailed list is posted on the SOS website located at www.supportoursoldier.com.
“Once the military come home they often need help and support which SOS helps to provide, especially with PTSD,” Nelson said.
Operation Shero is tailored to the female soldiers who need shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. Soldiers are helped throughout their deployment.
Drop off points for supplies are Serendipity Salon, Jamz Sports, and the Burleson Star on Renfro. Eumathian members donated supplies and monetary contributions to SOS for their November project.