The war in Iraq has affected everyone in some way; whether it be from headlines on newspapers, special broadcasts on TV, or by saying goodbye to a friend or loved one that is on his or her way to the war field.
As a result of these stressful and unpleasant circumstances, members of Chartwells, Quinnipiac’s dining/catering service has made efforts to support and comfort both the troops going abroad and the loved ones waiting at home for their return.
The Chartwells staff has started the program, Chartwells in the Community, which focuses on collecting request cards from Quinnipiac students, faculty and staff, who wish to have a care package made up and sent to their loved ones that are fighting abroad.
Leean Spalding, assistant director of dining services, brought the idea for the program to the campus after being asked to donate food and supplies to the Cheshire YMCA, where her two small children attend day care. The YMCA uses these contributions to make up care packages for the troops.
The list of supplies needed is provided by the Red Cross and it includes items such as granola bars, magazines, instant oat meal, white socks, lip balm, cereal, cookies and crackers.
Chartwells in the Community has strengthened the sense of togetherness on the campus, according to Spalding.
“Quinnipiac has been very appreciative that we are supporting their troops in Iraq,” she said. “You don’t realize how many people have boyfriends, brothers, or best friends over there.”
So far, 50 requests for care packages have been received, and many of the requests were made with immense thanks and gratitude.
“My cousin is in the armed forces currently overseas, and I would like to say thank you and say my family and I greatly appreciate what you are doing for our troops,” said sophomore Gregory Oates.”It makes us feel so much better to know there are people willing to do something for the well-being of those protecting our country.”
Mareesa Torres, a student at Quinnipiac law school, is also grateful for Chartwells’ efforts.
“I am so sincerely thankful that you are doing this. My little brother has been in Iraq for 2 months now and I am anxiously awaiting for this to all be over with,” said Torres. “We try and send packages when we can, but this is an amazing thing that you are doing.”
The Chartwells employees also receive rewarding feelings for their participation in the program. Along with donating goods for the care packages, each staff member signs cards to be sent to each troop.
“It makes me feel very good. They are doing a job for us, and we appreciate everything they are doing,” said Maggie Savo, secretary of Chartwells dining services. “I think it’s the least we could do for them.”
The 50 requests that have been received are in the process of being sent to the YMCA, where the care packages will be constructed. It will take about two weeks for them to arrive in Iraq, according to Spalding.
The program is expected to carry on until the end of the war. Those who wish to have a care package sent should send a request to [email protected], and it should include the troop’s name and rank, unit and mailing information, as well as the Quinnipiac contact name and relationship.
The response to Chartwells’ effort is something that will be appreciated and supported until the end of the war.
“One of my best friends from high school, Steven Reis, is currently stationed in Iraq,” said senior Erin Riley. “I think this is a special way to help our troops, thank you for allowing us to show our support for our friends, family and loved ones.”