HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Making sure men and women serving our country overseas aren't forgotten is the mission of A Smile for Troops. WHNT NEWS 19 is helping the organization out with that. A Smile for Troops started in February of 2009 when Kiley Kinzer-Henry's husband was deployed. To help keep his spirits up, she would send him care packages. When she found out there were some people that didn't get anything, she decided to do something about it.
"I love doing this and it's something a lot of people don't understand," says Kinzer-Henry as she packs up a box of goodies for a soldier.
Kiley Kinzer-Henry understands exactly what it's like to have someone you love thousands of miles away from home and she knows how important it is for home to come to them.
"I send M&M minis in the little tubes because the soldiers reuse the tubes for medicine and things that are easy to put in their pocket," explains Kinzer-Henry.
The care packages she sends to troops are also filled with capri suns, sweet and salty snacks, Kool-Aid packets, easy mac and cheese, even homemade treats.
"I want them to know that I took the time and I care enough to go that extra step for them because they're over ther going a bunch of extra steps for me," says Kinzer-Henry.
Sometimes Kinzer-Henry and the volunteers that help even decorate the zip lock bag the baked goods are in. There's also always a handwritten note. All of these goodies from the U.S.A. are meant to send this message:
"It's important to me that they see that because we are remembering them and it's very important," says Kinzer-Henry.
A Smile for Troops started with just an extra 36 packages for her husband to give to other troops that didn't receive anything during their deployment.
"Then, the next round was 100 packages," says Kinzer-Henry. "It kind of grew from there and now we're up to 200 packages, sometimes five times a year."
The number of packages isn't the only thing that's increased. The shipping costs have too. Kinzer-Henry quickly calculated how helpful $319 would be.
"I can send 20 care packages with that money," estimates Kinzer-Henry. "That's half of my holiday packages, so maybe I can send more this time. I'm so excited!"
WHNT NEWS 19 is excited to help, so when soldiers see these boxes they'll know they haven't been forgotten.