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Published: Wednesday, 12/17/2008

Penta making packages for troops


Dice, beef jerky, hand sanitizer.

It isn t your classic Christmas wish list, but computer-aided design students at Penta Career Center have rallied the school s help to collect such items for care packages to be sent to deployed military in Iraq for the holidays.

The idea came from senior Tim Schnitker II, 17, of Woodville. It will be three years in January since he was sending care packages to his father, Master Sgt. Tim Schnitker, who deployed with the Air National Guard to a base fire station in Iraq.

Family and friends kept busy putting together the packages for his dad and others on the base during the four-month deployment.

The packages let the troops know that they re supported, the younger Schnitker said.

It s a little comfort of home.

The world is a different place since the first such care packages the nickname evolved from the acronym for the formal title Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe were dropped as emergency nourishment for troops on the front lines during World War II. The packages included items like canned meat, powdered milk, instant coffee, and raisins necessities for soldiers likely camping off-base with rifle in hand.

Now, deployed soldiers are often stationed at military bases with modern stores stocked with the sort of snack foods and toiletries historically reserved for those care packages.

Though deployed soldiers no longer rely on care packages for survival, the gift is always a welcome surprise, Sergeant Schnitker said.

They re still significant for the same reason people like presents at Christmastime, he said. They just let us know that people cared.

The list of the items to be included in the packages, courtesy of Sergeant Schnitker, was distributed to the student body: snacks like nuts, beef jerky, popcorn; personal care items like lotion, powder, baby wipes, and Visa gift cards, which the soldiers can cash in at those retail stores on base.

Students at the career center have embraced the idea, and at least two classes have committed to bringing specific items, said Lorrie Armstrong, computer-aided design instructor.

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