AMESBURY, Mass. — Thousands of miles from home and risking their lives to keep this country safe, the pressure borne on the backs of military servicemen and women can be daunting.
But nothing can lift their spirits quite like receiving letters and care packages from home.
That’s the basis behind Amesbury resident Alicia Moore’s efforts to fill 350 boxes with necessities and then ship them overseas to where her son and hundreds of Marines are being deployed.
Her son, 2nd Lt. Ryan Moore, 24, is deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. The lifelong resident graduated from Amesbury High School and attended Norwich University in Vermont, the oldest private military college in the country. After graduation, he attended officer candidates school and was commissioned in May 2011.
Ryan Moore and his fellow Marines left Camp Lejeune aboard military transport ships a few weeks ago and are headed to the Arabian Sea. There the Marines will be a floating assault team waiting for orders from the Pentagon, according to his mother.
Ryan Moore is married to Navy Ensign Kylee J. Moore, who is a registered nurse at the base hospital of Camp Lejeune. They make their home in Sneads Ferry, N.C.
Alicia Moore said the idea for a box drive came after speaking to her son while en route to the Arabian Sea and hearing how difficult it was to get deodorant, air fresheners, disposable cameras, granola bars, disposable razors and other items people back home take for granted.
“I just thought letters and care packages from home would be good for them,” Alicia Moore said.
Drop-off locations were secured at 68 Madison St., Ben’s Men’s Uniforms on Main Street, City Hall, Vermette’s Market on Pond Street, Attentif’ Design on Main Street, Nor’East Architectural Antiques in South Hampton, RC Briggs Insurance Agency on Main Street and Amesbury Elementary School.
Since the drive began Friday, Alicia Moore said donations have been pouring in. Originally, she had hoped to create 350 packages for her son and the other members of the Battalion Landing Team Weapons Platoon. But if donations continue at their current pace, there could be as many as 500 or 600 boxes assembled.
“Within a couple of days, it was amazing, I was actually in tears,” Alicia Moore said. “It’s humbling, honestly, it’s very humbling.”
In mid- or late-May, volunteers are expected to meet at a location yet to be determined to organize donations and fill the boxes assembly-line style. Once shipped to the Marines, items can be swapped or traded.
Among the other items mentioned by Ryan Moore and his Marines as desirous include: Monster energy drinks, shaving cream in tubes, toothpaste and toothbrushes, travel-sized foot powder and body powder, liquid body wash, sunscreen, Q-Tips, individually wrapped candy, AA and AAA batteries, stationary and envelops, beef jerky, unscented wipes, playing cards, dice games, Rubik Cubes, cards and letters of encouragement from children and adults, cigars, snuff, Advil, Tylenol, Ziploc baggies, individually wrapped soft toilet paper and many others.
Monetary donations to defray shipping and buy items needed are payable to: 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit-BLT c/o The Provident Bank, 5 Market St., Amesbury, MA 01913. Donations may be deposited or mailed to any Provident Bank location: Amesbury, Newburyport, Exeter, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Seabrook, or mailed.
More information on the drive, including a full list of items, can be found at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/events/128613670656793/.