Needing to pack more than 2,000 shoeboxes full of various items, Support Military Spouses co-founder Diane Rumley was convinced the task would take at least three days to complete.
Thanks to some very eager and energetic volunteers, the job was done in little more than a day.
Dozens of volunteers descended last week on the Support Military Spouses operations center in Apex to help with the nation’s largest shoebox gift assembly event for military spouses.
A total of 2,250 boxes were packed with a variety of items, including bath and body lotions, pocket bibles and lip gel.
The gift boxes will be distributed evenly between military spouses at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville and Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.
Volunteers from Walmart, local churches, civic groups, off-duty Apex police officers and firefighters and the Green Hope High School Key Club were among the many patriotic-minded individuals who helped make the event a success.
“It was wonderful,” said Rumley. “We couldn’t be happier with the volunteerism and support we received. We thought it would take three days to assemble all 2,250 boxes but it only took a day and a half. We never had less than 15 to 20 volunteers working at one time and we had as many as 30 volunteers during peak hours. It was just an unbelievably overwhelming response and everything went so smoothly.”
“Thank you” letters written by school children and volunteers accompanied each of the shoeboxes.
Rumley said her organization would never be able to achieve its goals if not for the many businesses who donate items and the numerous individuals who donate their time.
“Support Military Spouses offers patriotic people in North Carolina the opportunity to come together in a simple but meaningful way to say thank you to military spouses for their sacrifices,” said Rumley. “We are just the venue; it’s the volunteers who make it all happen.
“You see the names of corporations but, really, it’s the wonderful people that put it all together. We get to work with just great people at Penske’s, Walmart, Hallmark and other places. Without their help and support we couldn’t do this. It is the people who care about military spouses who are donating items and volunteering their time as a way to show their appreciation.”
Although this project is coming to end, Rumley is already planning for another big event in the spring. She hopes to assemble 3,000 boxes for Military Spouses Appreciation Day in May.
Volunteers will be needed for both assembling the boxes and for writing letters to the spouses. Anyone interested in volunteering can register at www.supportmilitaryspouses.org.
Any military spouses interested in receiving a gift box can also register on the site.