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Effort to make care packages for US military members around world returning to roots

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ANN ARBOR, Michigan — An effort to make care packages for U.S. military members around the world is expected to return to its roots in a Michigan living room.

John Kinzinger on Sunday held a gathering to make packages that was hosted by the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 310. Each box includes snacks such as chips, crackers, beef jerky, cookies, candy and canned food. The boxes also contain books, magazines, socks, pens, paper and notecards.

More than 40 people gathered at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 423 in Ann Arbor to fill the final boxes to be sent out in time for Christmas.

"It's just a wonderful group of people who just give and give and give and it's all for the troops," Kinzinger said. "Over half the people here aren't veterans."

He also keeps a running log of addresses. Whenever a family would give Kinzinger an address of a service member who needed a package, he added them to the list.

"When we first started, we were doing support the troops rallies all over the county," Kinzinger said. "People started giving us addresses of their loved ones."

The effort started 12 years ago in Kinzinger's living room with a group of about eight. More than 3,800 packages have been sent since then, but The Ann Arbor News reports (http://bit.ly/1u1403v ) it's being scaled back as combat troops return to the U.S.

Instead, packages will again be made in his living room.

Postage on each package runs an average of $20 per box, meaning the group has paid around $76,000 in postage alone. The group said that about $250,000 in goods has been shipped to the troops, with an estimated 95 percent of that coming from donations.


Information from: The Ann Arbor News, http://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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