AZ woman running nonprofit committed to soldier's basic needs - WNEM TV 5

KEEPING THE PROMISE

AZ woman running nonprofit committed to soldier's basic needs

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Valley military mom is fed up, saying our soldiers in Afghanistan are being denied basic necessities because of the draw down.

The combat mission for U.S. troops is ending next December. But she says we're forgetting about the tens of thousands of our service men and women who are still there.

Kathleen Lewis runs Packages from Home and doesn't like what she's hearing from the soldiers and chaplains in Afghanistan.

Because of the draw down, our commissaries are shutting down and so are the REC centers.

Lewis said they used to get three hot meals and now they're getting one to two meals ready to eat.

The backup field food packets have become staple diet.

Even the basics like socks are rationed, two pairs a month.

It has changed her mission at Packages from Home.

"We have cut the fluff and we are trying to get them what they need to survive," Lewis said.

She used to send soldiers Christmas trees and lights along with care packages from Home for the Holidays.

This year even the stockings are staying put to pack in more of the basics.

Geri Mendiola carries a photo of her son on a stick with her wherever she goes. He's been deployed for seven weeks now.

"We've never had a holiday where we're not together," Mendiola said.

Mendiola heard about Packages from Home and came in along with her co-workers to pack boxes with love to ship out to her son and his squad overseas.

"There's a lot of people out there who don't have a family and they still need that little bit of love from home," Mendiola said.

"They have left their homes, their families, the warmth of America. They're still going out there, fighting for their country that they love and people have forgotten that," Lewis said.

Packages from Home supports deployed troops year-round, not just at the holidays. Click here if you'd like to help.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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