Freedom Alliance recently teamed up with four Northern Virginia Chick-fil-A locations and two local schools for a “Gifts from Home” care package drive. Three hundred sixty care packages were shipped overseas this week due to their efforts.
“Most of the boxes will go to service members in Iraq or Afghanistan” said Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon. “Particularly the remote areas of Afghanistan.”
Children at the Chantilly Academy Preschool collected 34 boxes. “One of our customers who is a teacher at the preschool came in and asked ‘how can our preschool get involved’ … we gave them a free ‘icedream’ coupon for every box they dropped off,” said Rebekah Knable, marketing director at the Chantilly Chick-fil-A. “I was blown away by how much they were involved.”
“We were so excited,” said Barb Bechtel, director of Chantilly Academy Preschool. While focusing on a project that taught the kids to “pay it forward” the preschool sent notes home asking parents to have their child participate in gathering items like candy, toiletries, games, non-perishable food items, and magazines.
The drive ended up being an education exercise as well. “It dawned on us that the kids were afraid of soldiers…so we decided to have the color guard from Chantilly High School come in” said Bechtel. “They quivered, they were elated and mezmerized by a two minute color guard procession…it was so good, it was so rich.”
Students at Countryside Elementary also participated “There were prizes and the top five classes won a Chick-fil-A luncheon” said Tracy Reynolds, President of the Countryside Elementary PTA. Countryside’s third grade class collected the most amount of boxes.
“What’s in these boxes is not just the practical support of shaving cream or magazines or those types of things but to let our troops know that we have their backs and will support them,” said Kilgannon. “Events like the earthquake in Japan remind us that our military is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week… Right now literately thousands of American personnel are bringing these types of things to Japanese civilians.”