Support Military Spouses has a lofty goal of someday distributing more than a million shoebox gifts to U.S. military spouses around the world.
The Apex-based organization still has a long way to go but they are getting closer all the time.
More than 30 volunteers recently helped assemble 3,000 shoebox gifts that will be distributed to military spouses at Ft. Bragg, Camp Lejuene and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
The event was held in recognition of Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 10.
Volunteers from Walmart, William Peace University and Potters Hand Bible Church worked for hours on packaging the gifts and writing thank you letters to the spouses.
Soaps, lotions, coupons, bibles and other various items were all neatly packed and boxed in assembly-line fashion.
Co-founders Steven and Diane Rumley said they were thankful to see the gift total rise from 850 in 2011 to 3,000 this year.
But there is still much work left to complete.
“This is all so wonderful,” said Diane Rumley. “The spouses are so deserving of all this recognition. God granted us the vision of distributing 1.4 million gifts a year so that every spouse around the world would receive one. I hope Steven and I can see it happen in our lifetime. But even if we don’t, we still know that it will become a reality one day.”
The Rumleys have so much optimism because of the wonderful support from companies as large as Walmart, Penske and Hallmark down to the grassroots level of local civic groups and individuals.
“The support has been fantastic,” said Steven Rumley. “The people of Apex have been wonderful. We are so proud to be a part of this community.”
Walmart human resource manager Teresa Tingler brought a large group of volunteers to the “assembly party,” most of whom were from the Apex store.
“The spouses make many sacrifices and it is important for us to recognize them,” said Tingler. “Walmart has always supported the military and we felt this was just another great way to show our appreciation.”
David Elliott, CEO of Ft. Bragg Federal Credit Union, made the trip from Fayetteville in order to help assemble gifts.
“This is what we are all about, supporting the families and veterans of Ft. Bragg,” said Elliott. “When Diane reached out to us I thought it sounded like a perfect fit. Now that I’ve been here I’m even more impressed. I think what they are doing is tremendous.”
Apex residents Linda Young and Tracy Fjelstad both feel strong ties to Support Military Spouses. Both were married to military men and understand how difficult it can be to have a loved one so far from home and family.
They worked for months on wrapping more than 3,000 soap packages for the shoeboxes.
“My husband served in Vietnam and I saw how they were treated when they came home,” said Fjelstad. “I just wanted to show my support for the spouses.”
For more information visit http://supportmilitaryspouses.org/.