Bethlehem Press

Monday, August 26, 2019
PHOTO courtesy of don reeseParticipating in the ninth annual Stockings for Soldiers collection event are left to right, kneeling: Chrissy Sensenig and John Mitton (Project Build a Better Future); center row: Lesley Bashore (Denver Cub Scouts Pack 132-Cubmaster), Erin Treese (Members 1st Federal Credit Union Ephrata branch manager), Cindy Mellinger (Blue Ridge Communications marketing/community Copyright - DONALD REESE      AKRON PA PHOTO courtesy of don reeseParticipating in the ninth annual Stockings for Soldiers collection event are left to right, kneeling: Chrissy Sensenig and John Mitton (Project Build a Better Future); center row: Lesley Bashore (Denver Cub Scouts Pack 132-Cubmaster), Erin Treese (Members 1st Federal Credit Union Ephrata branch manager), Cindy Mellinger (Blue Ridge Communications marketing/community Copyright - DONALD REESE AKRON PA
PRESS PHOTOS BY DEBBIE GALBRAITHStudents at Salisbury Middle School in Beth Prokesch’s class make stocking greeting cards for the soldiers. Copyright - DONALD REESE      AKRON PA PRESS PHOTOS BY DEBBIE GALBRAITHStudents at Salisbury Middle School in Beth Prokesch’s class make stocking greeting cards for the soldiers. Copyright - DONALD REESE AKRON PA
Ed and Carol Kozelnicky and Lucky, of Center Valley, deliver Stockings for Soldiers items to The Press from St. James Lutheran Church, in Coopersburg. Copyright - DONALD REESE      AKRON PA Ed and Carol Kozelnicky and Lucky, of Center Valley, deliver Stockings for Soldiers items to The Press from St. James Lutheran Church, in Coopersburg. Copyright - DONALD REESE AKRON PA
Carol and David Glass, of Northampton, make a delivery to The Press with items for the Stockings for Soldiers campaign drive. Copyright - DONALD REESE      AKRON PA Carol and David Glass, of Northampton, make a delivery to The Press with items for the Stockings for Soldiers campaign drive. Copyright - DONALD REESE AKRON PA

Collection breaks records

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 by cindy mellinger and debbie galbraith dgalbraith@tnonline.com in Local News

Many soldiers serving our country in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq had something to smile about in December 2018 as a result of the generosity of Blue Ridge Communications and Pencor offices and their customers, who embraced the Keystone Military Families’ Stockings for Soldiers project.

Keystone Military Families, a nonprofit organization founded by Kyle Lord (a military mother of a soldier who served five tours of duty), began the project in 2002. This year the goal was to send 10,000 stuffed stockings from our communities to the dedicated troops who would not be able to enjoy the comforts of home during this holiday season.

“We at Keystone Military Families have been blessed by the way we have been embraced by this community,” Lord said. “Every year you open your hearts to let those serving our great nation know they have not been forgotten back home. Our project could never happen without such generosity and Christmas spirit. To all the donors and volunteers at Blue Ridge Communications, the town of Ephrata and surrounding communities of central PA, and indeed everyone that had a part of this year’s campaign, we cannot thank you enough. Your enthusiasm and dedication truly warms our hearts. These gifts will surely convey the spirit of Christmas and the best wishes of the holiday season to every military member who receives them. Thank you for your continued support over these last nine years.”

Lord went on to say, “I hope and pray that as long as there are troops away from home and facing danger, our partnership of support will continue to show them we care, we miss them and we are forever proud of them. May all of you enjoy the blessings of this holiday season with family and friends and please say a prayer for those who cannot be with their families.”

Cindy Mellinger, marketing/community relations coordinator for Blue Ridge Communications, said, “This year we broke all records with our collection, weighing in at close to four tons (8,000 pounds) in donations, including food, hygiene and other requested items, over 20,000 signed cards and $30,000 raised for shipping.

“Thank you to everyone who embraced this project. I can’t thank everyone enough. A special acknowledgement goes to the many churches, civic organizations, schools, individuals and many businesses who took a personal interest in making the holidays brighter for this dedicated group of men and women.

“I have been privileged to be the project coordinator for this endeavor for the past nine years and each year I continue to be amazed by the overwhelming compassion shown by the Blue Ridge Communications’ viewing area. Due to your generous support, our service men and women received a loving reminder from home over the Christmas season. These gifts will serve as powerful messages of joy and hope to our men and women serving around the world, as they are so appreciative of the outpouring of kindness. Thank you!”

Following the collection, Lord concluded, “I am truly honored to be able to work with such loving, giving people. Every year the support and enthusiasm grows bigger than the year before and more of our troops know that they are loved and supported back home. Thank you so very much for your continued support for our military and their families.”

In the Lehigh Valley, Trudy Unangst, Unangst Tree Farms, LLC became a collection site for Christmas cards and donations. Many area churches and clubs participated as well. Seventh grade students at Salisbury MSmade cards for the soldiers to go with the stockings.

The organization thanks all of those individuals and groups who contributed.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/KeystoneMilitaryFamilies.