Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Growing "buzz"

Staff Sgt. Amanda Smolinski is a Civil Affairs Soldier who has been working with the Public Affairs shop for the past 2 years helping us expand and raise awareness of one of the Army’s largest community relations projects . The following is a reflection on her participation in Toy Drop.
In 1998,  Randy Oler began collecting toys in partnership with charitable organizations and the surrounding communities;  he called it Toy Drop.  The first Operation Toy Drop raised 300 toys for under privileged children around the country.  Last year, Operation Toy Drop raised more than 20,000 toys and distributed them to shelters, children's homes and similar organizations in eight additional cities across the United States: Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, St. Louis, and Staten Island.      

I have been a member of USACAPOC(A) for more than eight years, and the increased partnership across the world is one the greatest joys I take away from Operation Toy Drop each year.  The holiday season is a special time of year, and the partnership with so many organizations coming together to make someone elses's holiday even more special, ignites an intangible joy and magic. 

WWE Divas join a USACAPOC(A) Soldier on the
 drop zone during
 the 14th Annual Randy Oler Operation Toy Drop
 at Fort Bragg, N.C.
 From the Kids Wish Network who donates more than $40,000 worth of toys to Operation Toy Drop, more than three dozen businesses and organizations, WWE Divas, Fox News, The Fayetteville Fire Antz, to the NFL's Carolina Panthers, every partnership has helped increased awareness and is credited to the number of children who have benefited from the past 14 toy drive operations.

Subsequently, Operation Toy Drop has become the world's largest airborne operation in the world.  Now, paratroopers from more than 10 allied nations come to participate in the event.  It is very humbling to see U.S. Army Soldiers standing in line and enduring frigid temperatures in order to donate a toy in exchange for an opportunity to earn foreign jump wings.

I look forward to working together with the community and surpassing new toy donation goals this year!

-SSG Amanda Smolinski
Public Affairs

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