With Tuesday marking the eighth anniversary of the war, Payson Supply Line says it will continue sending care packages “as long as there are kids in the dirt.”
Butch Klein and Lud Kaftan started Payson Supply Line five years ago as a way to show their gratitude and respect for the men and women serving overseas.
Depending on the number of names received each week from friends and families of soldiers, Klein packs up and sends out anywhere from a few 35-pound boxes to six or seven a week.
So far this week, he has mailed four boxes and has two more to fill.
Combine these and Klein has sent at least 1,080 boxes.
Each box contains supplies not issued by the government including snacks, hand and foot warmers, heath care items, games and candy. While each troop receives two boxes, each box holds enough items to service eight or more troops.
In an effort to keep the program running, Rim Country Health and Retirement Community has organized a fund-raising event.
From now until Oct. 17, purchase $1 raffle tickets from Granny’s Attic Antique Mall, the 260 Café, American Legion, Payson Roundup or the Rim Country Health and Retirement Community.
Each ticket benefits the Supply Line and enters you in a chance to win a prize from more than 40 Rim Country businesses. Raffle prizes range from a one-night stay at Majestic Mountain Inn to two tickets on the Grand Canyon Railroad.
Angela Lyons, with Rim Country Health’s admissions and marketing, said businesses have so far donated $5,500 worth of prizes.
Lyons said even in this economy, businesses have stepped up and donated because “the cause is so worthwhile.”
Last year, Operation Christmas Blessing raised $3,000 for the Supply Line.
Lyons said Rim Country Health got involved with the fund-raiser because of employees who had relatives serving.
Klein said he was grateful for the help.
“We have been blessed to get donations,” he said.
While 100 percent of the money Klein receives, goes toward buying supplies and mailing packages, several days ago he paid the postage for a woman mailing a package to a troop.
Klein said he was in the post office mailing boxes when he met a woman sending a small box. He offered to pay the shipping and took the troop’s name down so he could mail him two Supply Line boxes.
For more information, visit www.paysonsupplyline.com.