Project Keeps Mail Moving to Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2007 - Staten Island residents are getting a little help sending mail to servicemembers these days thanks to a local troop-support group.

Staten Island Project Homefront Inc. in the New York City borough has set up a "Postage Due" account for those sending mail to troops from the community's main post office, its executive director said.

"Our main effort is to send items to our military," John T. Semich said. "We also help families by supplying postage (for Staten Island residents to send packages) to the combat zones."

The project's volunteers focus on packing up special-request items and shipping them off to servicemembers, he said. Those items have included global positioning systems, camp showers, metal detectors, and food items.

"We mail every six weeks to the troops we have registered," Semich said. "Residents of Staten Island can mail out any time, and we (cover the cost.)"

Though the project focuses on getting requested items to the troops, it also acts as a support organization for families of deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines if requests for assistance are within the group's capabilities.

The group, which was started by three veterans and an attorney, has grown to include many military family members. In fact, the project's chief financial officer is a Coast Guardsman, and the people who handle shipping and outreach both have sons in the military, Semich said.

"We have spouses and family members join us all the time, and they form their own sort of support group to handle stress," he said. "(It's) a side benefit I did not expect, but recognize and like."

The project recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

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