MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – Police cruisers were overflowing Saturday with care package items stacked to the ceiling as a grateful Northeast Ohio turned out in droves, with the help of six police departments, to donate items to the United Service Organization (more famously known as the USO).
“People were going ‘okay where is the dental floss, where is the toothpaste’?” explained Karen Gotwald who donated items for care packages. “Everybody was helping everybody else. I said this is what we need. It takes a village.”
The USO is the leading group in providing care packages for troops overseas. While many don’t know what it’s like to serve, hundreds turned out to say thank you at the Mayfield Heights Walmart by stepping up when called to donate.
“It’s like Christmas every day when they get one of these packages,” said Bruce Bille, the Executive Director of the USO Northern Ohio. “They also get cards from people they are representing. They are very happy to see the support from the people back home.”
Several police departments partnered with the USO to help collect food and toiletries including Highland Heights, Gates Mills, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Lyndhurst, Richmond Heights and Cleveland Heights police academy cadets.
“We consider it a privilege and obligation to help the veterans,” said Mayfield Village Police Chief Richard Edelman. “To help the men and women serving overseas. Any chance we get we need to help them.”
It’s not too late to donate. Starting Saturday, the USO Northern Ohio announced they are working to raise $50,000 in 50 days to give towards Ohio military members and their families.