The women of the Sunnyside chapter of the Order of Eastern Star have spent a significant amount of time working to support troops overseas.
Eastern Star is a women's organization through the Masonic Order and each year, the Worthy Matron (the equivalent of a service organization's president) chooses a group to benefit from various projects throughout the year.
This year, the Sunnyside chapter's Worthy Matron, Linda Denson, decided to support troops stationed overseas as the group's main service project for the year. Making the decision wasn't difficult, her dear friend and Eastern Star peer, Dorothy Youngs, has done extensive work supporting the troops--so much so that troops in Iraq flew an American flag in an Iraqi city in her honor for a day, then shipped her the flag.
The distribution point for the shipment of care packages to troops is in the Tri-Cities, where Youngs lives. The boxes they use for shipping care packages are purchased from the Post Office and are a little bit bigger than the size of a shoe box. Denson said that the cost to ship each box is a fixed rate, whether it's filled with "rocks or feathers."
The ladies of the Eastern Star have been working on fundraisers for supporting the troops since Denson took office in March.
One inventive way they raised money was during a Friendship Night, where women from other chapters of Eastern Star are invited, Denson themed the event "A Country Fair." Chapter members were encouraged to bring items that one would expect to find exhibited at the fair, like fresh produce, hand-crafted items and jams and jellies. A table was set up, and the women were allowed to purchase items. All told, $70 was raised to be used for postage to send the care packages.
The women of the Sunnyside chapter recently raffled off an afghan crocheted by Donna Gienger of Hermiston. Gienger's sister is a frequent visitor to the Sunnyside chapter meetings. Raffle tickets were sold by members at various chapter meetings, and the winner was Diane Osborn of Wenatchee. The women were able to raise $100.
Denson has been knitting helmet liners for the packages and recently shipped off 50 liners to the distribution point in the Tri-Cities. Her favorite yarn to work with? Camouflage and red-white-and-blue.
Through the helmet liners, the women were able to come up with yet another creative means to raise money for postage: for a donation, an individual can adopt-a-cap and a card is then placed inside the liner, featuring the name of the sponsor.
Over time, the women have collected various items to put in the boxes. Denson said the boxes contain "just about anything you can think of. Someone donated 200 beanie babies to be put in the boxes. We've sent beef sticks, phone cards, toothpaste, bars of soap and energy bars. Whatever people want to donate--the soldiers can use just about anything," she said.
The women of the Sunnyside chapter will continue to support the troops until Denson's term ends in March.
Those wishing to create helmet liners, make a donation or adopt a cap are encouraged to call Denson at 837-7359.
Lynda Jo Gross/Daily Sun News
Sunnyside chapter of Eastern Star Worthy Matron Linda Denson knits a helmet liner that will be sent to a soldier overseas. This is the chapter's main service project for the year.