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SHRM, USO Partner for Operation Care Package
 

By Kathy Gurchiek  3/19/2010


Volunteers will have the opportunity to send a piece of home to U.S. troops stationed overseas by packing 10,000 care packages on June 26, 2010, the day before the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition opens in San Diego.

This will be the second year that SHRM has organized a volunteer activity associated with its four-day Annual Conference. In 2009, SHRM worked with a community organization that helped restore private and community green space in Gentilly, a New Orleans neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

SHRM is partnering with the United Service Organizations (USO) for Operation Care Package, one of the many programs and services the USO provides to U.S. troops. Volunteers will be at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego assembling packages from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The packages, containing toiletry items, reading material, playing cards, gum and snacks will be sent immediately to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti who previously have been stationed at Miramar. Some of the packages will be distributed by USO Centers to troops boarding planes to their destination.

“This really is a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Lauren Liles, SHRM’s meetings coordinator.

Volunteers will be on their feet the entire time, packing boxes with “all the little comforts that are so easy to come by here but are not easily accessible overseas,” Liles said.

While the number of care packages seems daunting, “they have it down to a science,” she said of the USO, “and they are able to move through them very quickly.”

The project is a good fit for the conference location, given San Diego’s large military presence, she said.

Among military operations in San Diego are the U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego; the Coronado Naval Base; the Coronado Naval Amphibious Base; the Point Loma Naval Base; the North Island Naval Air Station; the San Diego Naval Station; the San Diego Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center and the Miramar Air Station.

Volunteers will have an opportunity to meet and talk with some families of troop members and officers from the base.

Persons not attending the Annual Conference and non-SHRM members are welcome to participate; volunteers must be at least 13 years old. Volunteers must be able to commit for the entire length of the project. SHRM will provide round-trip transportation to the base, leaving at 8:30 a.m. from the San Diego Convention Center for the 30-minute drive and returning at 1:30 p.m.

Volunteers must bring photo identification; persons without a photo ID will not be allowed on base. The base is handicap accessible.

SHRM will provide lunches, for volunteers. Persons with special dietary needs should notify SHRM at the time they register for the project.

Volunteers pay a $50 tax-deductible registration fee that goes entirely to the USO to support its Operation Care Package program.

June 19, 2010, is the registration deadline for persons in the United States; it is May 31 for international participants. Registration will not be accepted the day of the project. Persons who register for the program will receive an e-mail prior to the SHRM conference detailing the project’s logistics.

Click here to register for Operation Care Package. Persons who want to make a donation without participating in the volunteer program may do so by visiting the USO web site at 

http://www.uso.org/donate/custom.aspx?id=565&.

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at kathy.gurchiek@shrm.org.

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