By Joni Kirk, Mill Creek Director of Communications and Marketing.
When the City of Mill Creek’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) held two collection drives in fall 2018 to support members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, the Mill Creek community generously stepped up.
Mill Creek's Youth Advisory Board members collected donations for Operation Gratitude to support soldiers and service members. This is the third time the city has held the collection drive. The donations filled 10 Operation Gratitude boxes with 2,445 items ranging from drinks, pencils and puzzle books, to hygiene items, hand-made cards and hats.
The YAB also made more 200 paracord bracelets for deployed soldiers that were shipped with the Operation Gratitude boxes. Each bracelet can be unraveled in an emergency to provide the owner with 7.5 feet of 550 military strength paracord rope, which also has a capacity to hold 550 pounds. With the rope, an experienced owner can perform many lifesaving techniques, which include making a makeshift shelter, hauling heavy objects, creating a harness for extracting an injured person or making a splint. Other uses from dissecting the rope into smaller strands include; thread for sewing gear, emergency suture thread to close a wound, as fishing line or a trip line to secure an area.
“We would like to thank Mill Creek Elementary school and the fifth grade Leadership Team for organizing the collection drive at the school, as well as Heatherwood Middle School and community members for their donations,” said Kristen Rasmussen, community engagement coordinator and advisor to the YAB.
Another collection drive held by the YAB this year is Operation Paperback, through which gently used books are a collected and shipped to service members for personal enjoyment and development, as well as to read to their children via webcam. Community members, University Book Store and Half Price Books came through in a big way with donations. Approximately 1,500 books were collected, filling 40 boxes and weighing approximately 680 pounds.
“Shipping boxes of books and other items can be quite expensive,” said Rasmussen.
She went on to say, “However, the Mill Creek AMVETS post and Friends of the Mill Creek Library donated a combined $660 to help cover the shipping cost. We’re so very fortunate to have a community that gives generously.”
The total cost of shipping all 50 boxes was $898.