PITTSBURGH — A local charity and a group of teenagers from a church youth group worked together to send care packages overseas to American troops, providing them with treats and vital supplies.
Military Connections and teens from St. Joan of Arc Church in South Park assembled more than 150 boxes filled with everything from candy and beef jerky to socks and mouthwash. The teens sacrificed a day off from school to do the work.
"It feels good that we're sending this stuff to them because they do so much for us," said Alana Recktenwald, 17.
Military Connections is a local organization founded in 2003 by Summer Tissue after her brother served in the Marines.
"I didn't understand the lack of supplies and things that were overseas, and he called in the middle of the night. He needed Tylenol and toilet paper," Tissue said. "And I jokingly said, 'You know I'll ship it, but you have to stop being so cheap. Like, if you need it you should run down to the drugstore and buy it.' And he said, 'Do you know what Lake Erie looks like in winter? That's what it looks like all the time. There are no stores. We have access to nothing.'"
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"I think a lot of times that with all the stuff that's going on in the world, that sometimes our troops are, like, forgotten about. And we just have to really show them that we remember them and are thankful for what they do for us and protect us," said Bret Leydig,17.
Tissue said her favorite part of the process is getting pictures back from happy troops. If you'd like to contribute to Military Connections or learn more about the work it does, visit