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Heroes for the Holidays

By Staff | Nov 17, 2015

A business is making it easy to help support our country’s heroes during the holidays. Sip and Send has again coordinated its Holiday for Heroes effort, with the city of Cape Coral once more taking part. In its ninth year, the drive collects items for U.S. soldiers serving overseas.

“We collect supplies for the military – active duty. We start with a local kid or adult, and then we adopt their entire base,” owner Jonette Kessack said. “It’s 100 percent community supported.”

Last year, Sip and Send sent out more than 600 boxes to two military bases.

“This year, we’re trying to send 1,000 boxes,” she said.

Two bases in Afghanistan and a third base in Iraq are the beneficiaries this time.

“We have to raise $15,900,” Kessack said. “That’s how much postage for the boxes costs.”

As of Tuesday, approximately 420 boxes of supplies had been collected.

“And we are a little over halfway to our monetary goal,” she said.

The deadline for donations is Tuesday.

“This is a big push this week,” Kessack said.

Sip and Send has a list of recommended supplies, including snacks, single-serving sized drinks, toiletries or comfort items, and miscellaneous things, like boot laces, dryer sheets and games.

“Right now, the push is on high-protein items,” she said.

Some examples are beef jerky, protein bars, nuts, raisins and trail mix.

Laundry pods have been one recent request.

“One other thing would be like the instant hand-warmers,” Kessack said.

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, deodorant and foot powder are also needed.

“People can come in and grab a box and fill it from the list of supplies, or they can just bring supplies in and we’ll pack them,” she said, noting monetary donations will help cover the cost of postage.

Oasis High School’s JROTC is helping to pack up the donations this year.

In partnership with the city, collection bins have been set up at the 10 Cape fire stations.

“They can go to their neighborhood firehouse,” Kessack said. “They can go to City Hall.”

“I believe they’re having a competition between the firehouses,” she added.

In its first year, the Holiday for Heroes effort resulted in 36 boxes being sent overseas.

“So this has grown every year since then,” Kessack said. “People start asking us in the summer when we’re going to get the boxes ready – it’s kind of evolved on its own.”

In addition to the items, each box contains a holiday or a thank you card from local students.

“It’s a lot more than getting a box of supplies,” she said. “It’s something from home.”

Sip and Send also has a thank you banner on hand that the community can sign.

“I just think it’s critical that we let our soldiers know that we understand what they’re doing and that they’re over there for a reason,” Kessack said, adding that people do not have to agree with why.

“They still deserve our support,” she said.

For more information, call (239) 772-1076 or visit: www.sipandsend.com.

Sip and Send is at 2517 Santa Barbara Blvd., Suite 6.