Support for troops headed to Afghanistan and their families - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Support for troops headed to Afghanistan and their families


WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Each November, Iowa's Bravest sends appreciation boxes to our troops overseas.

The project isn't cheap, especially this year with nearly 3,000 packages needed.

"I'd really like to encourage everyone to get involved this time. I mean it's the largest call up ever and we can only send as many boxes as we get donations for," said Julie Ehlers with Iowa's Bravest.

You can attend a bake sale at the Evansdale AmVets to help. You can also "adopt a soldier."

"This year were going to do something different too. We'd like people to adopt a soldier and we'll put a note in the box that they made a donation especially for them," said Ehlers.

Iowa's Bravest is asking for a $50 donation, but Ehlers said anything will help.

Another way to help is by volunteering to sew cool ties to put in the boxes. Last year students got involved in the sewing.

"Soldiers really enjoy reading the notes from kids I mean they comment on that in their notes back home," said Ehlers.

According to one soldier, the best way to support our troops is by supporting their families.

Kandie Vaughn, whose step son died in Afghanistan, is collecting donations to be handed out to families. Gift cards for groceries, gas or restaurants are needed.

"Even gift cards to Chuck E. Cheese so a soldier's wife can take kids there for a birthday party or McDonalds, anything. If you think it might be kind of silly, well, do it anyway because they could use a laugh as well," said Kandie Vaughn.

Vaughn said everything collected goes directly to families in eastern Iowa.

The Iowa troops are training now and expected to arrive in Afghanistan around Thanksgiving.

Care packages from Iowa's Bravest should get to them by Christmas.

"We'll continue until they all come home. Hopefully it's soon," said Julie Ehlers.

The bake sale to raise money for care packages is August 19 and 20 at the Evansdale AmVets from 3 to 7 p.m. For more information visit

If you'd like to donate gift cards or sign up to mow lawns, contact Kandie Vaughn at 319-345-2480 or

The Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors is also collecting money to pay for a monthly meal for families of soldiers. Donations for that can be sent to the Black Hawk County Assessor's Office in Waterloo.

Online Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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