Bewtween 30 and 40 volunteers arrived to donuts on Saturday morning, charged with packing boxes full of goodies to send to the 101 members of the 161st Field Artillery Unit National Guard stationed in Kuwait, a joint project of St. Luke Evangelical Church and the Newton American Legion Post.

 

There were tables full of snacks and goodies — Skittles, granola bars, oatmeal, Lifesavers and other treats along with toiletries and socks — to be packaged for shipment.

 

The group had the boxes prepared in about an hour and ready for shipment. A smaller group of volunteers prepared customs forms for the mail service to ensure each box makes it to its final designation.

 

Post office workers were instrumental in the effort — collecting funds and purchasing a number of items to go into the boxes when they learned of the community effort.

 

Volunteers of all ages, from toddlers to the retired, helped pack the boxes Saturday.

 

The unit was deployed in May, their stint in Kuwait is scheduled to last about 400 days — more than one full year.

 

Event organizer Jay Area, whose son-in-law and nephew are both parts of the unit that operates out of the Newton guard station, said a recent set of care packages to the unit included thank you notes. He and volunteers collected magazines, toiletries, snack foods that do not melt and other small items to send for Christmas.

 

Each box was topped with a note from St. Luke's, the American Legion, the Newton Post Office and the Newton Community that read:

 

“We want to wish you a Merry Christmas and we want to thank you for your service to our country.”