A student service project that began in the fall at Good Shepherd School in Camp Hill culminated in boxes of personal care items and snacks for military personnel in time for Christmas.
In September, sixth-graders decided on the project of sending care packages to members of Good Shepherd families who are deployed. The school distributed flyers to ask for donations, and each grade was encouraged to collect specific items for the packages.
Students responded, bringing in toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, tissues, toilet paper, hair ties and brushes, stationery, drinks, gum, candy, granola bars and dried fruit.
The items were sorted and packed into three boxes, along with personal letters and cards for the military personnel.
“We are excited how our project evolved and are proud of our effort. We can’t thank the Good Shepherd community enough for their donations,” said Good Shepherd’s principal, Michael Pietropola.
“We give thanks at this time of year and ask God to bless the USA,” he said.
Col. Thomas Spahr, a 1989 graduate of Good Shepherd and a graduate of Trinity High School in 1993, wrote a letter to Pietropola and the students to share his appreciation for two of the care packages.
Col. Spahr, stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, is the father of two students at St. Patrick School in Carlisle and at Trinity.
“Being a Soldier is hard and demands great sacrifice, but it is rewarding and the people I work with are great,” he said.
He wrote about his fellow soldiers at Camp Resolute Support, who also benefitted from the care packages.
“One of the things I like best about our Camp is the coalition partners,” the colonel wrote. “Most are from NATO countries, with the exception of Australia. Each country paints and decorates their headquarters with their national colors and murals from their country. On Sundays, we do physical fitness as a large group and many Sundays we celebrate different holidays from the different countries and they tell us all about their history.”
“The war in Afghanistan has been long and very sad,” Col. Spahr said. He asked the students to “Please pray very hard for peace and the people of Afghanistan.”
“I appreciate all of the students’ letters and prayers,” he said. Please also pray for my family. I have two daughters at St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Carlisle, and one in Trinity. I miss them dearly.”
“Thank you from my entire team for all of the gifts you sent in your packages. Your thoughtful gifts make our lives a little bit easier,” he said.
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness