FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVE TO SEND CARE PACKAGES TO NEW YORK CITY RESIDENTS SERVING IN THE ARMED FORCES OVERSEAS
Partnership with American Recreational Military Services Aims to Send Care Packages to Each of the 8,000 City Residents Serving Overseas
NYC Service Volunteers Will Help Package Donated Items
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Roger K. Newman and New York City Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford today announced a partnership with American Recreational Military Services (A.R.M.S.) to launch a new initiative, Supporting Our Troops, which aims to send care packages to each of the approximately 8,000 New York City residents serving overseas in the United States Armed Forces. The initiative is a component of NYC Service, the City’s program to promote a new era of service and volunteerism in New York City.
“The freedoms we all enjoy, and too often take for granted, are protected by men and women who have volunteered to sacrifice out of love for this country. We owe them our prayers and admiration for defending our lives and our future,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The goal of the Supporting Our Troops program is to bring a little bit of home to the New York City residents bravely serving our country. We are asking all New Yorkers and visitors that can contribute to place an item in one of the collection bins. It’s a modest gesture of appreciation, but one that could make a difference for someone who decided to sacrifice much of their own freedoms so we could have ours.”
“We are extremely excited to work with A.R.M.S. on this project to support our troops overseas,” said Commissioner Newman. “By joining City programs with effective non-profits, we can better assist veterans, active duty service people and their family members. This partnership is going to make a difference for those who serve and those that have served our country – they all deserve our support.”
“Our partnership with A.R.M.S is indicative of the relationships NYC Service is forming with service organizations throughout the City to help our neighbors in need,” said Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford. “New Yorkers want to give back and we are creating more and more opportunities for them to give whatever they can – their time, talent or resources – to help their communities in ways that really matter.”
“It’s an honor to be working with the Mayor’s Office on this endeavor to support our troops from all branches serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond,” said A.R.M.S. Director Ronnie Micciulla. “It means a lot to service members to be supported by people at home – they know they’re not forgotten. To quote one of our soldiers in a thank you letter to us, ‘Soldiers young and old always look forward to getting a letter or package in the mail. It puts a smile on their faces every time. Keep them coming!’”
The Supporting Our Troops initiative will place collection bins at locations throughout the City where New Yorkers and visitors can donate items most requested by service men and women, which includes:
Consumables: gum, candy (no chocolate), cough drops, ibuprofen (no aspirin and single-use sealed packets only), non-perishable food items, cookies, crackers, powder drink mixes (in boxes of individual packets), instant coffee or tea (individual packets), microwaveable soups (non-perishable, single-serving), pasta, popcorn, sealed nuts and dried fruits, granola, and protein bars.
Hygiene: soft toilet paper, tissues (individual soft packs), toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, saline eye drops, body cream (travel size), lip balm stick, razors, bug repellant wipes, shaving cream (travel size), shampoo (travel size), conditioner (travel size), feminine products, baby wipes or alcohol wipes, talcum or cornstarch powder (travel size), foot powder (travel size), cotton swabs, bar soap, and deodorant.
Entertainment Items: gift cards for music or movies redeemable online, movie DVDs, audio books, puzzles or Sudoku, magazines and newspapers.
Miscellaneous: men and women’s New York City sports team paraphernalia, air fresheners (non-aerosol) and hand and foot warmers.
Canned goods donations are prohibited.
Donations will be assembled by NYC Service volunteers, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs and A.R.M.S. into care packages and mailed overseas. The first phase of collections will be at locations throughout the City, including at all NYPD precincts, all firehouses, at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and in City offices, beginning July 13th and lasting through August 21st.
More than 300 bins will be placed at locations throughout the City. A complete list of collection bin locations and service members’ most requested items can be found at www.nyc.gov or by calling 311.
The second phase of collections will feature donation boxes at City public schools to encourage students, parents and faculty members to donate requested items and to volunteer in packaging the goods. Donation bins will be placed in select schools when the academic year begins and all care packages will be sent out in time for Thanksgiving.
Established in 1987, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs advises the Mayor on issues affecting the military and veteran community. The office works closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, City agencies and other organizations to offer services and develop solutions to the problems faced by veterans, their dependents, and their survivors.
NYC Service was launched by Mayor Bloomberg in April and fulfills the Mayor’s State of the City pledge that New York City would lead the way in answering President Obama’s nationwide call to service. The program has three core goals: channel the power of volunteers to address the impacts of the current economic downturn, make New York City the easiest city in America in which to serve and ensure every young person in New York City is taught about civic engagement and has an opportunity to serve. Since its inception, NYC Service has been forming partnerships with leading non-profits like A.R.M.S. and has provided a central location for New Yorkers to locate opportunities to give back to their communities.
Founded by grassroots volunteers in 2003, A.R.M.S. is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of giving back to members of the United States armed forces and their families. A.R.M.S has grown significantly since its inception, with more than 325 active volunteers in the tri-state area providing numerous services to soldiers, local armories and military family members in need. Since March 2003, A.R.M.S. has provided significant services, including shipping more than 800,000 lbs. of necessities to servicemen and women overseas, distributing 22,800 pre-paid calling cards and collecting 38,250 presents for the children of mobilized soldiers.
Stu Loeser / Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
Evelyn Barranco (A.R.M.S) (718) 981-5497