Daily Point of Light # 2889 Mar 2, 2005

The war on terrorism has dramatically affected our world and constantly shadows our daily routines. This project provides the community with a positive solution. Together, individuals and communities can take responsibility for their actions and make a difference. A major accomplishment of “Support Our Troops” is that it allows individuals to continually impact their communities for years to come. Ashley Sobon’s innovative project consists of 4 major components – neck coolers, packages, coupons and brochures.

Sewing “Neck Coolers” For Military Troops These special neck coolers, when soaked in water, activate a chemical compound, which works to absorb and time release water, giving much needed relief from the desert heat that is contributing to soldiers’ stress. One goal of “Support Our Soldiers” is to make and to teach others how to make 1000’s of neck coolers an then send them to the soldiers. As of 9/27/04, Ashley’s project has sewn/gathered over 200 neck coolers. She will continue to work with more groups, like the Rotary, Girl Scouts and Junior Women’s League, to get neck coolers made.

Sending Packages to our Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan “Support our Soldier” packages include letters of support solicited from schools, churches, parish picnics, Girl Scout Troops, individuals, community organizations and senior citizens centers. Ashley has been and will continue to visit all of these places. The need for writing letters to our soldiers is imperative. The packages also include neck coolers and items from a prepared list such as eye drops, wet towlettes, talcum and corn starch powder, fresh cushioned socks, Q-Tips, dry skin lotion, lip balm, powdered drink mix, playing cards and magazines. On average, the the value of one package exceeds $40. In addition, there is a $7 to $9 dollar cost for shipping the packages to overseas Military APO Addresses. However, “Support Our Soldiers” has a tremendous volunteer base and following. So far, donations, and individuals wishing to make a difference, have off-set these costs. As of 9/27/04, Ashley has sent more than 66 packages, totaling more than 760 pounds, overseas.

Manufacturers’ Coupons To Commissaries & Military Family Service Centers Outside The U.S. Another goal of “Support Our Soldiers” is to assist military families, because they too are suffering hardships, with money saving opportunities. Therefore, more than 80 packages of coupons, each weighing about 1 pound, have been sent to Korea, Japan, Guam, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany and numerous other foreign countries. Ashley and others cut coupons, stacks and packs the coupons into 1 pound packages and sends them out.

Visual Awareness – A Double-Sided, Full-Color Brochure Ashley actively created and prepared a double-sided, full-color brochure explaining the “Support Our Soldier” project and all of its components. She has been, and will continue to distribute this brochure at numerous venues and outlets, like the Girl Scouts, Scottish Rite Masons, Monroe County Telepioneers, Parish Picnics and local businesses. Ashley’s personal goal (and another goal of the project) is to encourage citizens and communities to actively show their support. With the help of the Pennsylvania representative Mario Scavello’s office, more than 1000 brochures will get the message out – “Support Our Soldiers”!!