Central Florida organization celebrates 10 years of sending care packages to soldiers

Florida

LONGWOOD, Fla. (WESH) – Just Our Soldiers’ Helpers, also known as JOSH, just reached a milestone. The organization has been sending care packages to deployed service members for 10 years.

“When they’re able to send pictures, you can see the smiles on their faces,” Scott Ariotti said.

Kathy Hewitt founded Just Our Soldiers’ Helpers after sending packages to her nephew Josh, then expanding to others in his unit.

“They absolutely adore the packages that we send them, because they’re chock-full of the stuff that they want and are looking for,” Ariotti said.

Board member Scott Ariotti says service members in combat zones can register on the JOSH website and request items for both the food packages and the personal hygiene.

If they can get mail where they’re deployed, they get a package at least once a month.

JOSH had their 2020 fundraiser just before the pandemic slammed the brakes on gatherings. Boxes are still going out, but not as many as earlier in the year.

“We’re going to keep going as long as funding allows, and that’s been Kathy’s motto, we’ll scale the packages that we send out every month, based on the funding that we have,” Ariotti said.

Thanks to a supporter, the organization now has a Longwood office. It was storage units and the founders living room for years.

“Her living room was a maze of boxes and zip-top bags, during the lead-ups to a monthly packing event,” Ariotti said.

Visit the organization’s website to learn more about JOSH.

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