TC Touching Hearts Participates in Adopt a Soldier, Sending 250 Packages Overseas

“As far as the community support goes, they’ve just been fabulous every year,” said Marilyn Dear, the founder of Traverse City Touching Hearts.

For the 15th year in a row, the group is adopting soldiers for Christmas.

Their goal is to give the men and women serving our country a little sense of home for the holidays.

“We took on a whole ship. The U.S.S. Carney that’s in the Middle East. They’re in the Mediterranean,” said Dear.

This year around 250 soldiers will get a package for Christmas coming right from the Traverse City community.

“This year we had seven different drop boxes all over town, in the grocery stores,” said Dear.

With donations from dentist offices to schools, it was a community effort from people of all ages.

“I think there was six different schools that wrote letters to the soldiers and they always love those because kids just say the funniest things,” said Dear.

The packages being sent to soldiers are filled with different snacks, toiletries and a few other presents.

“It gives you such a good feeling of giving and I think it just really opens up your heart to looking for other ways that you can give back to the community,” said Dear.

For Bensie Benghauser, this effort really hits home.

Her daughter joined the military at 17 years old.

“Very proud and nervous, you know, worries like any mom would be,” said Benghauser.

Her daughter received one of the bags from TC Touching Hearts when she was serving in Iraq in 2009.

“They were ecstatic. It was a piece of home and the smells of the candy and the powder and the wipes. It just reminded them of home and it was such a tangible connection,” said Benghauser.

Benghauser says she’s astounded at how generous the Traverse City community has been.

“Especially when I have, especially a daughter, in the service and knowing that they care enough to send a little Christmas and to step up,” said Benghauser.

They plan to send these packages out the first week of December.