One day last summer, Komets forward Kaleigh Schrock was invited by a couple of friends to attend a packaging party at Hoosiers Helping Heroes headquarters in LaFontaine.
"It's amazing how much they fit in those boxes," Schrock said. "They have it down to a science to jam pack them full. It was cool."
Each month, Hoosiers Helping Heroes sends care packages to 50 or more Indiana service members around the world. Komets Kare Package, which starts Sunday for the sixth year, is the group's main supplier during the winter months.
Fans are asked to donate things such as beef jerky, underwear, toiletries, hard candy, breath mints, breakfast pastries, small canned food items, single-serving cereal boxes – basically anything.
Komets Kare Package lasts for the next three home games – Sunday, Wednesday and Dec. 22. The program is sponsored by the Komets, The News-Sentinel and Federal Express, 3620 Independence Drive, where fans can also drop off items outside of game times as well. We'll get everything organized and donate the items to Hoosiers Helping Heroes.
"I also learned how important it is,'' Schrock said. "They cover everything, magazines, snacks and even toys to give to the kids. You give one of those kids a toy, and they are going to be your best friend out there. They may never have received anything like that."
Each month, a group of 10 to 15 volunteers gathers in HHH co-founder Montana Speicherweimer's garage to fill the boxes. The group has sent out more than 8,000 packages in its seven years of existence.
"It was definitely a cool experience,'' Schrock said. "Now I understand how important it is and how much impact it has to have the buckets at the coliseum. The more support she gets, the more she can ship out to the soldiers.
"She showed us pictures of some of the soldiers who had sent them in after they received their packages. They looked like us after we won a championship. You don't realize how hard they have it over there and how something so small can make such a big difference."