First Baptist Church Care Packages

Photo courtesy of Gretchen Amonte

November 15, 2021 by Gretchen Amonte

The First Baptist Church is thankful for the generosity of community members who have donated Halloween candy for our deployed  soldiers. But donating the candy is only the beginning of the story. For the past sixteen years, Joy Thomson and her faithful volunteers have mailed 62,000 pounds of care packages to soldiers in need of comfort items from home. Through donations, the church maintains a stocked supply room that is ready to fulfill soldiers’ requests for personal care items, non-perishable food, and entertainment items such as books, games, and DVDs. The current postage rate of each of these care packages is $18.55. On Veterans Day the Boy and Girl Scouts of Hingham packaged 205 boxes filled exclusively with candy and these cost about $3800 to ship. Joy starts saving postage funds months ahead of time knowing that Halloween will be right around the corner. She is visibly emotional with gratitude to the people of our community who drop off their candy. But, what she doesn’t show is the stress of making sure that there is money to get these donations in the mail. Our community can help by making a financial contribution along with donated candy. On their website the church outlines multiple ways to donate - Paypal, Amazon Smile, and mailing a check. The website also has a link to an Amazon wishlist of comfort items that can be ordered for the soldiers and shipped directly to the church.

Joy’s husband grew up in Hingham and she was raised in North Carolina. Her voice still carries her sweet accent. They have been members of the First Baptist Church in Hingham for many years and she is also the administrator of the church. Sixteen years ago the care packages began as a congregational effort because of the many family members who served in the military and were deployed. Eventually it evolved into any soldier from Hingham or who had ties to the town. Today- the soldiers can be from anywhere. Joy contacts military organizations to find soldiers in need or these organizations approach her. Word has spread about Joy’s efforts and people from the town, state, and country approach Joy and ask her to add their family and friends to her list. Over the years she has had 282 soldiers serve as Point Leaders. These men and women request particular food or care items from Joy with the intention of sharing with their whole units. This can range from 5 to 650 soldiers who benefit. The packages are customized and Joy does everything in her power to fulfill their wishes.

The soldiers' care package effort is run entirely by volunteers. It is a registered non-profit and 100% of donated items and money go directly to the soldiers or postage fees. There is a 24/7 bin at the right rear door of the church where non-perishable foods and personal care items can be dropped off. More information on needed items and how to make a financial donation can be found here

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