YARMOUTH — The high school club Help Our Troops will send personalized care packages to troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan during the holidays and host a screening of the documentary film “The Way We Get By” for the community.
The film highlights three senior citizens who greet troops returning from and going to Iraq and Afghanistan through the Bangor International airport.
Help Our Troops is led by two juniors, Hannah Waxman and Emily Clark. Their goal is to combine recycling with troop support. The students gather recyclables from the classrooms and deposit the money into a Clynk account. So far they have raised about $200. The money is used at the end of the year to send comfort items to the 209th Aviation Support Battalion stationed in Tikrit, Iraq.
“We can’t stress the importance of being involved in a program that can better the lives of people outside our own community,” Waxman said. “We want to make an impact on the lives of others on a global scale.”
Help Our Troops is part of the larger Global Action Club that includes Safe Passage, Kiva, the Siddhartha School, Save Darfur, Iraqi War Victims, Quest For Peace, One Revolution and Cambodian Arts and Scholarship Foundation.
Neither Waxman nor Clark have any relatives in Iraq or Afghanistan, and student adviser and social studies teacher David Pearl said their involvement speaks volumes about the type of students they are.
“The incredible thing about the students at the high school is that they are not doing the donation drive and film screening because they have a parent or sibling in Iraq or Afghanistan,” he said. “They are doing it because it is the right thing to do.”
Pearl said he visited the airport with his children and in four hours greeted about 550 soldiers. He said since May of 2003, the three Troop Greeters have personally greeted more than 4,600 flights and 934,000 troops.
“What these people do is incredible,” he said.
The film follows the lives of three Bangor residents who gather daily to talk to American soldiers leaving for and returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. The film explores the aging process, loneliness, war, mortality and appreciation.
Clark said the film makes a connection between the alienation of the elderly and the troops returning from war.
“This film helps to remind us how our elderly and returning soldiers are cast aside from society,” she said. “This is a way for us to realize what they do for us and bring them back into our hearts.”
The screening of “The Way We Get By” will start at 7 p.m. at the Yarmouth Performing Arts Center. The show is free and open to the public. After the film, the students and the audience will package items to send to the troops in Iraq.
Food items to donate include macaroni and cheese, beef jerky, protein and granola bars, trail mix, oatmeal, gum, candy, Oreos, premium coffee, sugar, Splenda, instant hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, crackers, peanut butter, Ramen noodles and tea. Fun items to donate include CDs, sudoku game books, action and comedy DVDs, hand-held electronic games, flip camcorders and magazines. Miscellaneous items to include are white boot socks, AA and AAA batteries, premium shampoos and lotions in travel sizes, Axe for men and Dove for women.
Waxman said members of the community are welcome to donate food items or goods, or they can sponsor a box and donate the $13 it costs to ship the box overseas.
“The more personal these boxes are, the better,” she said. “This is one way we can support our troops.”
Residents are invited to drop off donations or monetary gifts to help with shipping costs at the high school, 286 West Elm St.