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NDSU News blog on Areavoices.com, Published January 29 2013

Areavoices: NDSU groups collecting items for troops

Veterans Upward Bound and the Equity and Diversity Center at North Dakota State University again are coordinating a letter-writing campaign and collecting donations for the 818th Engineering Company of the North Dakota Army National Guard.

Letters and items are being collected until Feb. 8, when they will be shipped to the soldiers who are serving in Afghanistan. Students, staff and faculty can drop items off at Ceres Hall room 338. The public can send items to NDSU Dept. 5380, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050.

In December, Veterans Upward Bound, the Equity and Diversity Center and NDSU Residence Life collected more than 300 letters, cards and postcards, as well as hand-drawn artwork by daycare children at NDSU and Concordia College. In addition, 10 boxes filled with 30 to 50 pounds of toiletries and other items were sent overseas. “We had a wonderful outpouring of support by the campus for our contributions to the 818th Engineering Company,” said Jeri Vaudrin, project coordinator for Veterans Upward Bound at NDSU.

In early December, two of the unit’s soldiers died and another was injured while serving in Afghanistan. “We believe they need this support more than ever with the loss of their comrades,” Vaudrin said.

Items of importance are letters or cards with messages to the soldiers; gum, hard candy, coffee packets and flavored drink packets such as Crystal Light; and reading materials such as hunting, automotive or fitness magazines, paperback novels, board games, playing cards, Frisbees, sketch pads and colored pencils.

Vaudrin also was able to secure a film library through a contribution by Project: Hollywood Cares, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting deployed military service members and their families.

Headquartered in Williston, the unit has 35 NDSU graduates. “We found out some weren’t receiving letters or care packages,” Vaudrin said. “We wanted to let them know we haven’t forgotten them. They’re still there 24/7.”

For more information, contact Vaudrin at jeri.vaudrin@ndsu.edu or 701-231-9706.