Troops Get Support From Pennsylvania Team

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2008 - For deployed troops, hearing about support from back home can do wonders for morale, but getting a big box full of goodies and necessities is even better.

"The 'American Troop Support Team' has been formed to provide tangible support to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, particularly those currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan," Joseph Natale, the team's founder, said. "They deserve to know that we, at the grassroots level, are here for them."

The packages, full of donated snacks, personal hygiene items, reading material and the occasional special request, all are packed in Natale's Pennsylvania basement. In addition to the goodies, each box includes letters expressing support for the troops.

The American Troop Support Team's goal is to send as many boxes as it can, and this will be its only project until the need for care packages isn't so great, Natale said. The group does hold fundraisers throughout the year to pay for supplies and shipping costs.

"When the need for our boxes diminishes, we will be establishing an annual scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled [servicemembers]," he said.

A new supporter of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program, American Troop Support Team hopes the affiliation will offer national exposure and, consequently, more troops to whom the members can send their packages of support, Natale said.

America Supports You connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

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