TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Fans of all NFL teams helped United Service Organization volunteers fill care packages full of a taste of home for service members deployed around the globe on Thursday.
USO had a tent of volunteers and fans set up at the NFL Fan Experience at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. The bags were filled with things like Slim Jims, Crystal Light packets, Skittles, M&Ms and more, in addition to a note of gratitude from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Dan Drummond, of USO, told 8 On Your Side they hoped to fill 10,000 bags of goodies as part of the “USO Holidays Program.”
“They will go to thousands of service members who are deployed around the world, during a time when a lot of them are separated from their families,” Drummond said. “Really, it’s an opportunity for these care packages to connect them back to family, home and country.”
These care packages will go straight to the service members.
“I have a couple people that actually have come to us and talk to us and said, ‘you know, that care package reminded me of home, reminded me of Christmas and reminded me of all the special things,'” Drummond said. “It’s just a small way, our way of giving more than thanks to the service members.”
If anyone wants to help USO give back and was not able to make it to the NFL Kickoff Experience to stuff a care package, Drummond encourage them to go online to the USO website to share a message of support to service members defending American’s freedom around the world.
Those looking to give back further can head to USO.org/donate. Drummond said around the holidays, those wanting to donate can also provide a variety of gifts that go directly to service members.
The NFL has partnered with United Service Organizations for more than half a century to support the nation’s military.