Dozens of care packages that should be on their way to Marines serving in Iraq are instead sitting idle at the Gulfport Seabee base.
Members of 3rd Platoon, Company-A, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion left for the Middle East in March. Their families organized a collection drive to send them boxes of goodies.
Along with candy, books and toiletries, there is a lot of love stuffed into the boxes. Raylene Scarborough and Mary Nothstine both have sons among the Gulfport Marines serving in Iraq. Two weeks ago they joined other military families to put together care packages.
"We came in, packaged everything up," said Scarbourogh. "We actually ended up with enough boxes for every Marine and the two Corpsman for each one to get a box."
Mary Nothstine said, "I realize that this is my way of supporting my son Chris, who is over in Iraq, and all the other Marines. That this is an encouragement to me and an encouragement to all the family members to get together and get these boxes in the mail."
Getting the boxes in the mail turned out to be more difficult than they expected. The women say each box costs about $18 dollars to ship. Since the family support group couldn't afford to send all 79 boxes, 20 stayed behind.
"We just didn't realize how much stuff we'd have and what the cost would be until we actually weighed the boxes and packed them up," said Scarborough.
The families are trying to raise another $500 to send the remaining boxes.
"I really do believe with the help of the community we'll be able to gather, receive funds, not only for this shipment that we're planning in June and maybe August," said Nothstine.
The women say they know that when boxes finally reach their destination there will be a lot of smiling faces.
"I think it's going to be like Christmas and I hope that they'll know that they're loved, not only by us, but by the community," Nothstine said.
If you would like to help the Gulfport Marines Support Group get care packages to Iraq, you can send donations to:
Marine Corps League
Attn: Len Drozal
1800 Beach Drive Rm 1522
Gulfport, MS 39507