JOHNSTON, Iowa — Local moms are collecting donations to create care packages to send to deployed troops ahead of the holidays.

Blue Star Mothers of Iowa is a nonprofit made up of mothers with children who are currently in the military or are veterans. Their mission is to support military forces, veterans, and their families.

Since 2017, they’ve organized the Care Package Project, where they send hundreds of boxes to deployed troops. Since the project began, they’ve sent over 1,100 boxes.

Jen Fletcher is the Vice President of the nonprofit. She said that their goal this year is to send 500 packages.

“It is a ton of work. We’re a small group, we’re all volunteers. But, seeing the boxes packed, shipping them out, and then when we receive the reactions from the soldiers and the troops in the United States and around the world getting the boxes we helped put together, it’s the best feeling in the entire world,” Fletcher said.

To accomplish their goal, they need the community’s help with collecting donations. The packages are filled with nonperishable foods and toiletries, as well as other household and recreational items, and heartwarming messages. They have a full list of needed items on their website.

The nonprofit also allows community members to submit names and addresses of military members to request a care package for that military member.

Blue Star Moms of Iowa will accept donations until Veteran’s Day, Saturday, November 11th. They will also package the boxes on that day.