One of the members of the Newton Masonic Lodge ended up deployed internationally through the National Guard, and that got his lodge brothers at home motivated to do something they have talked about for years.

“We have been talking about this forever,” said Matt Hockett, a lodge member who is helping organize a donation drive to create care packages for troops stationed overseas. “... It sounds like the guard will be deployed for a new mission soon. We decided we wanted to get some care packages sent over for them.”

The Newton National Guard Unit is currently in need of supplies, and that is where things started for the Lodge. However, the Masons want to send more than just supplies.

“We are calling on the community to see what we can do to get some packages over to those guys,” Hockett said. “.. I have the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts writing letters, as well as some of the schools to do thank you cards and things like that. We are just trying to collect as much as we can.”

Some businesses and organizations, including Dr. Brett A. Rouffs DDS, ReMax, The Newton Police Department and Harvey County Sheriff's Office have jumped on board — starting their own internal donation drives to support the effort.

The plan is to box things up next week — extending the drive a bit from the original plan.

Some specific items sought for donation include:

- Non-perishable food items

- Multipacks of flavored water powders

- Beef Jerky

- Gum / Candy

- Sanitary / Wet wipes

- Toothpaste / toothbrushes

- Crew socks

- Gold Bond foot powder

- Feminine Hygiene products

- Decks of cards

- Magazines

- Any other comfort items our soldiers would enjoy

Donations can be dropped off at the Newton Masonic Lodge on Broadway and Main in Newton, Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to Noon. Donations can also be taken to Dr. Brett A Rouffs office at 400 S. Allison St. and the Alex Carbajal ReMax Office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 500 N. Main.

For more information, contact Matt Hockett at (316) 281-5053.