(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A Sacramento, Calif., group that sends out hundreds of Christmas care packages to America’s troops serving abroad has fallen victim to a Grinch.
Dec. 17 was the cut-off day for Move America Forward to get 350 care packages to the post office with the guarantee they’d be there by Christmas. As the boxes sat in a trailer on Dec. 16, waiting to be shipped the next day, some Christmas ne’er do well broke the trailer’s lock and stole 25 of the packages — all of them intended for soldiers in Afghanistan.
Scott Raab, outreach coordinator for Move America Forward, said the contents of the boxes were probably worth around $5,000, but the cost isn’t the issue. The care packages were intended to give soldiers a reminder of the comforts of home, he said. And, since the boxes were all individually addressed, there will be 25 soldiers going without this year.
“We pack pretty much everything in there,” Raab told ABC News. “Deodorant, coffee, candy. But also notes from school kids here at home thanking them for their service, Christmas cards, everything we can.”
Raab, who is himself a veteran of the U.S. Navy, said the packages really mean a lot to soldiers serving overseas who miss the comforts we take for granted at home.
“This can mean the whole world to these troops. We send packages year-round, but during the holidays it’s even more special. And we get some of the packages out to specific soldiers whose family is not able, for whatever reason, to send them anything.”
The packages were all clearly marked for military personnel and contain literature about Move America Forward, Raab said, so whoever the culprit is knows precisely who they’ve stolen from.
Raab is working with various organizations and accepting donations through MoveAmericaForward.org to replace the stolen items and help ensure the soldiers whose packages were stolen get their Christmas gifts, even if they are a few days late.
Though disappointed, Raab said he remains confident his organization will get all the losses covered.
“These people are the definition of a Grinch,” he said. “It is disheartening for those of us who worked so hard to get all these Christmas packages together. But we’ve had an overwhelming response from people wanting to help out and it just shows how much support there is out there for our troops.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Michael Martinez and Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire