HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Right now there are American troops deployed to dangerous places. Places like Afghanistan. The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have a tough job, and it's complicated by the fact they're far from home.
"That's a big sacrifice they're making for us, and I think people forget that sometimes," says Kiley Kinzer-Henry.
Kiley "doesn't" forget. Her thoughts became action in 2008 when her husband was deployed, and she sent him an abundance of goodies. "And he said, I'm giving them to soldiers who don't get care packages, and I could not understand that. That some people weren't getting care packages from loved ones," said Kiley.
After realizing there was a definite need, "A Smile For Troops" was born. Four times a year Kiley sends small care packages, goodie bags if you will, to groups of 200 soldiers. The large ziplock bags contain items like cookies, candy, a couple of simple fun toys, and some sort of handwritten note.
"Anything we can fit in there and ship that is something that you remember, like Moon Pies. We'll send those, little things like that, just to give them a break for just a moment," said Kiley.
In photos from the soldiers you can see smiling faces, and upturned thumbs. Kiley says the soldiers need these small tokens.
"We had a horrible day. We came back and your packages were waiting for us, and we opened them up and we all sat around and we ate them and talked about our day. And you forget just for a moment, how horrible the day was," said Kiley, of the notes she receives.
And she keeps at it. Her job is to gather the supplies, pack the bags and get them ready to ship. The driving force behind what she does is pretty simple. "It's important that they know they're appreciated, and they're not forgotten back home. A lot of people say we're not even over there anymore. We're still there, you know, and people forget. We want to make sure they're not forgotten," said Kiley.
Since 2008 she has been sending the goodie bags to soldiers four times a year, but she does depend on donations to pay for the items that go in the bags. She missed her last shipment because of a lack of funds. If you're interested in helping, please check the Facebook page, or visit Asmilefortroops.com.