HARTFORD, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin woman's charity organization is close to sending its 10,000th care package to U.S. military personnel serving overseas.
LeAnn Boudwine started Support The Troops 11 years ago, The Daily News reported. Boudwine had been sending care packages to her sons until she learned that some of their fellow soldiers weren't receiving any gifts. She began sending troops packages from her home with the help of her friends.
The operation eventually expanded and now operates out of donated space in the basement of a local business.
"It started small, but the more we heard how much it meant to these heroes to know that people back home had not forgotten about them, the more it keep growing and growing," Boudwine said. "We never thought we'd still be doing it, but there are so few groups like ours that it would break our hearts to stop."
Volunteers from around the area help Boudwine assemble the packages.
"The community support throughout the year has been overwhelming," she said.
Packages are filled with donated items such as candy, nonperishable food, activity books, DVDs, personal care items, clothing and holiday items.
"When people ask what we need, I say that they need all of those little things that we take for granted in our daily lives," Boudwine said.
Boudwine hopes to send the charity's 10,000th care package by the end of the year.
"When I say that number, I have a hard time believing it," she said.
While the group sends out many packages during the holidays, packages are also sent throughout the year, Boudwine said.
"Why do we do this? Because of the letters we get," she said. "Soldiers tell us how good it makes them feel to know that we are thinking about them. I get teary just thinking about it."