Oreos and Crest are hard to come by in the deserts of Iraq and arid mountains of Afghanistan, but two Doylestown-area service men soon will be snacking on and brushing with those reminders of home.
Linden Elementary sixth graders in Jen Rubeo's class spent Friday morning sorting piles of donated toiletries and snacks to send to the men and their units serving overseas.
Audrie Przybylski sorted Kit Kats and Snickers bars for the sweet tooth, while Allison Ansinn divided packages of Propel drink mix.
At another set of desks, Olivia Smith and Amelia Yates sorted bottles of Listerine mouthwash and packages of Reach dental floss into two neat piles.
Hayley Divita and Chase Keiser worked at divvying up deodorant and a small mountain of bars of soap.
All of it will be packed into flat-rate postal service boxes and shipped to Michael Picard and Travis Cope.
Linden collects items for the troops every year, Rubeo said, but usually gives them to another organization to send to military members. This year, the connection for Linden is personal.
"The push this year was to involve the community more, and to do that, we wanted to personalize it. We wanted to know who the donations were going to," said Rubeo.
Picard, who is serving in Afghanistan, is the son of Rubeo's friend Christy Landis, who lives in Warrington, near Chalfont.
Landis said her son and his buddies love to get packages from home.
"It helps them out a lot, and they just really appreciate it," Landis said.
Cope's aunt, Emily Wojciechowicz, works at Linden, and he himself was a graduate of , and . Today, he is a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
Linden sent a letter home with the kids just before Halloween, asking for donations for the supply drive, Rubeo said. They collected items for about two weeks and still are collecting money to pay the shipping costs.
Soon, the soap and shampoo, toothpaste and treats so many in this country take for granted will be bundled into boxes and flown halfway around the world where they will be shared with men and women who probably wish they could just come home themselves.
"We're sending them love from home," Rubeo said. "These are just little things to us, but to them, they're a touch of home in a faraway place."