Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 19, 2014

Church partners with Scouts to support military

By Brenda L. Holmes brenda.holmes@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — BROWNSBURG — Several church members and Girl Scouts spent a few hours this weekend trying to brighten the days of men and women serving the country abroad.

The Military Support Group of Connection Pointe Christian Church of Brownsburg partnered with the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana to fill care packages to be sent overseas.

Mandy Curry is the production sales manager for the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana.

“We were able to donate 125 cases — or 1,500 boxes — of Girl Scout Cookies for this project,” Curry said. “We have our own project called Operation Cookie Drop. People make donations and we send the cookies.”

She said the donations have been so good the organization needed to partner with other entities to get everything delivered.

“We’ve expanded, so we found this great church to partner with,” she said. “And we're all here today getting the boxes ready. It's gone really fast.”

Several area Girl Scouts came out to help with the packaging. Many of them also attend Connection Pointe.

The Military Support Group has been making care packages for military personnel since the spring of 2003, said member Gary Strader.

“So we’ve been doing this for over 10 years now,” he said. “We do it three times a year.”

The group does the care pages with a “cookies and coffee” theme for this time of year. In the summer, they'll gather up all kinds of treats and send them out around July 4.

Then during the holidays, they decorate and ship small Christmas trees and blankets.

“This is the biggest one we’ve done,” Strader said. “Today we're doing more than 300 boxes.”

The Military Support Group meets monthly at the church. Members solicit donations from the congregation and community, collect items for the packages, and then organize a work day to stuff the care packages.

“We also do other packages when we hear of specific needs,” Strader said. “Over the years, we’ve collected about $150,000 worth of donations of stuff that we’ve sent all over the world. The community really has responded well.”

He said there's a core group of 20 to 30 members who attend most meetings.

“Sometimes we'll have up to 50 people come,” Strader said. “And the neat thing is not all the members of the group attend our church. Some people attend other churches and some don’t attend church at all. They're all just interested in helping the military. We’ve made a lot of connections with this group.”

The theme for this care package may have been “cookies and coffee,” but there were plenty of other items included such as potato chips and crackers.

“We’ve been partnering with the Girl Scouts for about three or four years now,” Strader said. “It’s been fantastic. And interesting to find out what they do with the cookies. We learned that they didn’t have poker chips and were using the Thin Mints as chips. And they're always so appreciative.”

The group often receives thank you notes from soldiers or sailors who have received their packages.

For more information, visit the church’s website at www.connectionpointechurch.org or call the office at 852-2221.