Why We Don’t Celebrate Memorial Day

When most Americans celebrate Memorial Day, they take advantage of the beginning of summer, a three-day weekend, barbequing with friends and family, and marathon shopping at mall-wide sales. But we at Packages From Home refuse to celebrate Memorial Day. Why? While we all appreciate a good clearance and spending time relaxing by the pool, celebrating those things by attaching them to Memorial Day dilutes the true meaning of this important national day of remembrance.
The true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor and remember the American men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, was first observed in 1868, when flowers were placed on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It later evolved from honoring only Civil War soldiers to recognizing and remembering fallen heroes from all American wars.
In honor of this important day, you may notice Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers exchanging red poppies for donations to military and veteran service organizations. This tradition began after World War I, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field” which describes the wild red poppies growing on a Belgian battlefield. Wearing a red poppy soon became a tradition to reflect on the sacrifices of war and remember those who gave their lives for our country. Another tradition is to fly American flags at half-staff in memory of fallen heroes, having surviving family raise them at noon as symbol of carrying on. In recent years, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts adopted the custom of placing American flags at military grave sites.
In the not too distant past, Americans remembered and honored their fallen heroes with large community remembrances and parades, but today, many our country’s citizens seem to focus more on taking a much-needed day off to spend time with loved ones.
The sacrifice of those who died in service for our country should not be celebrated, but instead, remembered and appreciated. We, as American citizens, are only afforded our freedoms because hundreds of thousands of incredible troops gave and continue to give their lives for the great country we live in.
So, this year, while you’re spending time with loved ones and enjoying great deals at your favorite stores, please take a moment to remember and thank those who made it possible for you to do those things. Reflect upon what it means to be an American, offer gratitude to those who died in service, and explain the true meaning of Memorial Day to our children because remembering our fallen heroes is a tradition worth upholding.

New at PFH: Team Building for Our Troops!

Due to popular request, we are pleased to announce that we have launched a team building program that enables businesses to do good for their company, community, and country – all while enhancing company relationships, synergy, communication, and ability to achieve goals.

Our team building program can be customized, depending on your company’s budget and number of employees. We are also happy to coordinate an Offsite Packing Party at a location of your choosing, including outside of Arizona. For more information about Team Building for Our Troops, please visit www.packagesfromhome.org or contact our Director of Fundraising, Sarah Perry.

VETERAN HIKES ACROSS AMERICA TO HELP END PTSD

GLENDALE, AZ (February 28, 2017) – Military and veteran support organization, Packages From Home, and Eli Smith, a remarkable veteran who is hiking across America to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other veterans issues, are teaming up while Smith is in Arizona.  

The two groups are pooling their resources to support one another and bring awareness to the country’s growing veterans issues, including veteran homelessness and mental health disorders, such as PTSD.  

“On average, we lose 22 of our veterans to suicide stemming from PTSD,” said Smith.  “That’s 22 too many. I needed to do something about it. After a while, and looking at what other people have done to raise awareness, I decided on a hike.”

But not just any hike.  Smith carefully planned a 13,000+ mile hike along the perimeter of the continental United States, reaching all four “corners” of the nation.  His goal is simple: “To get the hike completed and be able to save just one life. If I can help save just one life, then all the hardships, winters in the north, deserts, pain, loneliness, and everything else will be absolutely worth it!”

In fall of 2016, Smith began training and preparing for – what he has dubbed – the 4 Corners Hike.  Smith chose to embark on this cross-country trek in honor of the veterans who have lost their battle to PTSD – a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress that, per the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, affects nearly 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan and 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans.

Packages From Home’s Director of Fundraising, Sarah Perry, first learned of Smith’s journey on social media.  “I happened upon Eli’s journey on Instagram and reached out to congratulate him on his amazing work and see if he needed any supplies or support,” said Perry.  “His mission is so profound and important and lines up with Packages From Home’s mission perfectly so I wanted to make sure we were helping him however we could.  Anyone who sells all of his belongings to go on a three-year hike for our veterans has Packages From Home’s attention and encouragement, one hundred percent!”

When Smith reached Phoenix, Arizona on day 98 of his journey, he remembered the invitation to visit Packages From Home, pick up some supplies, and assemble a care package for a currently-deployed American military hero in need.

“We love having Eli here in Arizona,” said Perry,” but it’s almost time for him to get back on the road to continue his important work.  And he can’t do it alone so we’re making a call to the community to help Eli get the support and resources he needs to carry on.”  

For those who want to join Packages From Home in supporting Smith’s 4 Corners Hike, please visit https://www.facebook.com/4CornersHike/ to make a donation or reach out with other opportunities, such as: hiking and camping gear, food and hygiene supplies, a place to stay along his route, and more.

Watch the video about Eli’s story, thanks to our friends at CBS 5 and 3TV, here.

Courageous Hearts is Back

Once again, Packages From Home is thrilled to team up with Fry’s Food Stores, CBS 5 and the community of Arizona to support our troops this February during the annual Courageous Hearts fundraising effort.

Packages From Home has been selected as one of four organizations to benefit from the Courageous Hearts campaign, which will be televised and promoted by CBS 5, to help give back to the individuals who have sacrificed so much for this country: our United States military personnel, veterans and their families.

During the month of February, all 123 Fry’s Food stores will give customers the opportunity to donate their spare change at cash registers and purchase a Courageous Heart to dedicate to a past or present service member. Fry’s Food Stores has set the bar high with hopes of raising at least $200,000 to be split between four nonprofit organizations, including Packages From Home.

This year, Courageous Hearts will include some great giveaway drawings for folks who make a tax-deductible donation of $50+ during CBS 5’s Phone Bank event scheduled from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

It warms our hearts to see that Fry’s Food Stores, CBS 5 and the communities of Arizona have such a strong commitment to our military, veterans and their families! Packages From Home and all of our deployed troops and veterans want to give you a big thank you for your support during this year’s Courageous Hearts initiatives! We truly appreciate your help in continuing our mission of remembering and honoring our past and present military heroes.