Deborah Ferguson, NBC 5 News
Burleson woman sends customized care packages to US soldiers.
Teresa Nelson knows how to pack a box. She owns Teresa's Treasures, a custom gift basket business in Fort Worth.
One of the project rooms there is also now home base for Support 0ur Soldiers.
"Our men and women are in need," she told NBCDFW. "They feel forgotten and abandoned at times, so there's no reason for that."
So Nelson stuffs 20-pound care packages, customized for the battlefield - primarily Afghanistan.
What's in those boxes:
"Rice Krispy treats, beef jerky, tuna in pouches not cans becuause they can't open cans, Easy Mac, Girl Scout Cookies, Oreos are always popular," Nelson rattled off. "Texas barbecue sauce,you can't beat it. We have units from Fort Hood and El Paso, so we'll go to the store and get that for them for some Texas barbecue with the chicken and ribs they sometimes get."
"Some of our units have been down to one meal, so what has SOS has sent has been their sustenance. So it makes a big difference."
Nelson knows that because she is on Facebook with military members every day.
"Ooh, there's another one," she smiled as she checked in for the day. "Now they're starting to come."
This is her regular lunch date.
"Yes, ha, ha," she laughed. "Yes, it is. My staff knows from 11-1, this is what I'm doing. And also from 11pm to 1am, same thing."
They talk about the weather, the packages SOS sends, family.
"This soldier I asked, what he misses the most from home? He said, 'My son.'"
Another wanted to know about the next delivery.
"I'm enjoying the last of the snacks you sent me. Hint, hint," Nelson read. "So he's ready for another care package. I'm telling him another will be there soon."
Nelson's had a successful business for 14 years. Early last year, a customer asked her to send a monthly care package to a soldier overseas. The idea intrigued Nelson and after some research, she launched Support Our Soldiers. And with it, she found a new calling.
"The service to them is knowing when they reach out with a hi, or how are you or are you there, there's someone on the other end," she explained. Some have become so comfortable with her "a lot them refer to me as a second mom or Mom."
The community of nearby Burleson embraced the mission, too. A recent Chamber of Commerce luncheon honored Nelson and the work of Support our Soldiers. Mayor Ken Shetter read a proclamation designating April 22-20 Support Our Soldiers week.
"We accept the call to do our best to support you," Shetter said.
Burleson's involvement with t-shirt sales, donated items and cash adds to the thousands of dollars Nelson and her husband Dennis spend out of their own pocket.
It's their way to honor those who put their lives on the line, to say thank you, and to give others a place to show their support, too.
"I know peple love and appreciate them, but I don't think local folks have an outlet to show that support," said Nelson. "So that's what we wanted SOS to be, a local outlet where you can sign cards and donate for care packages or adopt a soldier and really be able to get directly to them in 7-9 days your appreciation and love for them."
So far, SOS has sent more 7,000 pounds of care packages and adopted 48 soldiers.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Write letters to soldiers
Donate trial-size toiletries, puzzle books, magazines, instant oatmeal, Easy Mac, Ramen, cash
DROP-OFF LOCATIONS IN BURLESON:
Serendipity Escape, 110 S. Main St.
Chamber of Commerce, 1044 SW Wilshire Blvd.
Teresa Nelson, founder