What started out as 40 military care packages, packed by a small team at the Walt Disney Travel Company, has turned into an office-wide, biannual military care package drive that has reached more than 10,000 troops overseas.
“Our packing events have flourished in a wonderful way,” said Ivy Goodman, a team leader of travel reservation agents at the Walt Disney Travel Company. “Our latest drive generated more than 3,000 care packages to show the brave men and women of our Armed Forces that they are appreciated.”
For each packing event, Ivy and Cheryl Evans, a sales agent, offer colleagues a chance to sponsor a care package or create their own. Cast members hand-write messages on postcards to include in the care packages, which are shipped to troops overseas in partnership with Operation Interdependence.
In addition to postcards, the care packages include a protein like beef jerky, a small treat like a granola bar, candy left over from Mickey’s Halloween Party, and personal care items like lip balm and dental floss. Disney-related items like luggage tags or Mickey Mouse lapel pins also are included.
The packages are small in size, but huge in gratitude. Ivy is motivated by her stepfather, Bob, who served three tours in Vietnam, and retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Gunnery Sergeant, after 23 years of service. When Bob returned from Vietnam, he eventually married Ivy’s mom, who was the love of Bob’s life.
“With every postcard I write, I think of the brave servicemen and women who may read it, and thank them for their strength of character and sense of duty,” said Ivy. “In my heart, I say a prayer that they will make it home to their loved ones, too.”