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Fort Drum USO to receive record food donation

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FORT DRUM — Officials with the post’s United Service Organizations office are excited about what they’re calling the largest food donation in their history.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” said USO Fort Drum Director Karen M. Clark.

The donation, expected to be delivered today by tractor-trailer, includes 25 pallets of food, consisting of several types of popcorn and other snacks. The delivered product’s total value is about $100,000.

A single pallet includes approximately 260 cases of popcorn donated by the Boy Scouts of America. The post will receive 23 popcorn pallets in a variety of flavors, such as butter, caramel and kettle corn.

Mrs. Clark said the donation meant the post may not have to buy popcorn, one of the more popular snacks it provides, for a year.

A pallet of Girl Scout cookies, provided by the national organization, includes about 122 cases, or slightly fewer than 1,000 boxes of cookies. The final pallet will include several types of candy donated by Walgreens.

The shipment was coordinated by Support the Troops Inc., Wesley Chapel, Fla., which is sending shipments to 10 of the largest military installations nationwide.

Mark Van Trees, the organization’s director, said Support the Troops had received such a large number of donations in the last six months that products were in danger of expiring before they could be used.

The organization sends out 60 200-pound boxes to overseas forward operating bases every week.

“It’s a win-win,” Mr. Van Trees said. “We get to send it out to folks, and they get to enjoy it.”

Mr. Van Trees said his organization purposely picked bases that had groups rotating back from deployment.

In the past few weeks, Fort Drum’s 10th Sustainment Brigade has started its return from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

Mrs. Clark said the post’s logistics leaders offered the USO one of the dry warehouses for 90 days so the group can store the donation while it figures out how it will use the items. In addition to providing more food at its center and in welcome areas for returning soldiers, she said, USO Fort Drum can share the donation with other military operations in the area.

Mr. Van Trees said his organization’s shipment was packaged and shipped by Walmart, which is paying $5,000 to $7,000 for each of the 10 tractor-trailer deliveries.

Mrs. Clark said USO Fort Drum is always looking for donations, because its supply levels vary throughout the year.

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