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‘Holiday 4 Heroes’ gift box program under way

By Staff | Nov 21, 2017

A local business is making it easy to help support America’s heroes during the holidays.

Sip and Send is again continuing its Holiday 4 Heroes campaign, with the city of Cape Coral once more taking part. In its 11th year, the drive collects supplies for U.S. soldiers serving overseas.

“Their conditions haven’t improved any, and there’s more and more need out there,” owner Jonette Kessack said, adding that many nowadays are stationed in small locations with no commissary rather than large bases. “Sometimes the boxes we send and other people send are the only thing they have, besides the basics that the military gives them.”

Last year for the holidays, Sip and Send sent boxes to Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.

“Our goal was 1,000 and we ended up sending out 1,122,” she said. “So we went over.”

At the start of the year, Holiday 4 Heroes officially became a not-for-profit, allowing the campaign to expand to year-round. Kessack explained that as the donations come in, the boxes are shipped out.

“Our goal for the entire year will be 1,500 boxes,” she said.

As of Monday, over 700 boxes had been sent overseas.

“But our major push is still going to be this next coming week,” Kessack said.

Donation bins are set up at City Hall, the Chester Street Resource Center and 10 fire stations.

“Right now, we have seven different soldiers that we’re mailing to and they’re distributing at their bases,” she said, adding that all seven point of contacts come from the local area.

The donation bins for the holiday push will be collected on Dec. 1.

People can also drop donations off at the store or visit online to make a monetary donation.

“They can donate postage to ship a box, $50 to send a box or donate any amount,” Kessack said.

Sip and Send has a list of recommended supplies, including snacks, single-serving sized drinks, toiletries or comfort items, and miscellaneous things, such as boot laces, greeting cards and games.

“Primarily, high-protein items like beef jerky, peanut butter, trail mix,” she said.

Other suggestions include high-protein items, powered drink mixes, especially chocolate-flavored, candies, mints and trail mixes, along with toothpaste, body wash, deodorant and foot powder.

“The 3-in-1 body washes are great,” Kessack said, adding that Q-tips are a new request.

Holiday 4 Heroes T-shirts are also available, with the proceeds funding the effort.

“We have them made locally and we sell them in the store,” she said.

Kessack noted that Water Medic of Cape Coral donated office space toward the year-round effort.

“We’re not paying for any kind of office space, so everything goes to our soldiers,” she said.

For more information, call 239-772-1076 or visit ““http://www.holiday4heroes.com/”>www.holiday4heroes.com/www.holiday4heroes.com.

Sip and Send is at 2135 Santa Barbara Blvd.