Military care packages
Pastor Pelella and organizer Diana Bonacasa couldn’t wait another year to run the second drive and plan to ship out another 100 boxes this summer. Pictured are volunteers from last year’s event.

Courtesy photos

Military care packages

Story By: NICOLE FUENTES
8/8/2019


Shipping out everything they need overseas

 

BY NICOLE FUENTES

 

Axis Church in Medford will be hosting their second military care package drive on Aug. 23. Items must be donated prior to the event, where volunteers will work to package them for our troops overseas.

WHAT THEY NEED

Books, magazines, crossword puzzles, ear buds, notepads, stationery, body wash, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, lip balm, throat lozenges, Icy Hot, lens cleaning cloths, eye drops, saline nose spray, socks, underwear, Slim Jims, instant soup in a cup, gum, mints, floss pickers, baby wipes and Vicks Vapo Rub. 

Letters and oatmeal raisin or peanut butter cookies are also encouraged, but nothing with chocolate, as it might melt. Please, no aerosol products.

How it began

Church member Diana Bonacasa and her husband Vincent in honor of their late son, honorary special agent Staff Sergeant Louis Michael Bonacasa, originated the drive, which started last year during the holidays. 

Her son enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at 17, right after high school, in 2001. He passed away in 2015 while serving overseas, at the age of 31, after four deployments. The family, originally from Coram, now lives in Manorville.

“We love our troops; they go there for our freedom and this is the least we can do,” Bonacasa said of why she does it. “It is honoring our Lord, who places love in our hearts to love others, especially our troops.”

How it works

Through contact with local VFW posts, Bonacasa labels the packages with provided addresses and ships them overseas. Shipping costs, which total thousands of dollars, are offset by the church and donations. This year, some packages will go to a hospital in need as well as four other addresses.

“I have a strong, strong heart for our military,” said lead pastor Anthony Pelella, explaining how happy he is to support the Bonacasas’ efforts by providing the space to do so. 

Assembly lines will be formed to fill each package, making sure the right items are placed in each.

The goal

The goal, according to Pelella, is to meet or surpass the last drive’s accomplishment of 100 packages. 

If you want to help

Volunteers are welcome to join the efforts by coming to the church’s café located at 2884 Route 112 in Medford at 7 p.m. Bring items, help pack and enjoy some light refreshments.

Or donate items to the following drop-off locations: the church on Route 112; 177 Sipp Avenue in Patchogue; or 19 North Country Road in Port Jefferson.

For info

Call the church at 631-732-7682, or visit axisny.org. n