***If you have joined our chapter's site, you are well on your way to becoming a member of the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. By joining as a full-fledged member, you may come to regular meetings, attend packups and receive regular invitations to be involved in the many wonderful events we are so often asked to attend. So show your military pride in your child by joining up! Go to the national site at http://www.bluestarmothers.org/ for your official access. ***
We are often contacted by wonderful groups and individuals who are eager to support our military service members and their families. We always welcome offers of assistance!
Below are a few ways you can help:
Monetary Donations: Financial donations may be made, securely, right here on the site! Your tax deductible donation will go towards the shipping of our boxes to deployed service members, Gold Star family and veteran's needs, supplies in support of military families who may be in need and supplies for things such as Christmas decorations for VA Hospitals. We are ladies who know how to stretch a dollar!
Tangible Donations: Your generous donation of items such as snacks, socks, toiletries, etc... go directly in our boxes to our deployed service members. For a full listing of items, see our "Items for Donation" page", and contact us for a scheduled pick-up within the Atlanta area.
Hosting a Pack-Up event: The BSMs have been involved in many notable sponsored pack-ups over the last few years. 11Alive News, North Georgia Honda Dealers and the Future Farmers of America are just a few who have shown their wonderful support of our military men and women!
Helpful tips for a sponsored pack-up include:
Gathering boxes! Flat Rate Shipping boxes may be ordered, free of charge, from the post office. (If boxes are not provided by the sponsor, Blue Star mothers must have 3 weeks advanced notice prior to the planned event in order to provide boxes if necessary) Go to http://www.usps.com/ for ordering options.
Shipping Costs! Flat Rate shipping boxes cost $12.95 per box to ship regardless of weight. Shipping costs may be covered through fundraising by the sponsoring group or by BSMAGA 1. Because BSM funds are often depleted during consistent pack-ups throughout the year, fundraising for shipping costs by the sponsoring group is suggested in tandem with the collection of items. But, never fear! If shipping cannot be covered by either group at the time of the sponsored event, BSMA Ga. 1 will simply ship those boxes at a later date! An example: 50 boxes @ $12.95 = $647.50 needed for shipping.
Moving/Mailing Those Wonderful Goodies! BSM members may take the boxes to their local Post Office but planning must be made in advance so roomier vehicles can be used. If monetary donations allow, sponsors may also transport boxes in assistance. Some of us have teeny cars! Please include the transportation of the boxes in your event planning.
Location and general BSM availability: Due to the employment restrictions of many of our wonderful volunteers, we prefer to have events held on Saturdays where many of us are more available to attend. However, some weekdays could be managed and would be dependent upon the individual scheduling situation. While we wish we could be everywhere in Georgia, the unfortunate rise in gas prices (OUCH!) and the time and employment restrictions of our volunteers only allow us a two hour drive (4 hours round trip) from the Atlanta area. Please consider using BSMAGA Ch. 2, located in Warner Robins Ga., as an alternative for sponsorships in that area.
Addresses! Addresses of deployed service members may be supplied either by the sponsor (do you have a deployed friend or family member who would like a box or two???) or by Blue Star Mothers and its affiliate organizations. Forms for deployed addresses may be sent by BSMAGA 1 to the sponsor or individual and must be filled out and sent back no later than three weeks in advance of the planned event date. Information on the form includes, deployment/mail stop date (or approximate date service member will no longer be in country to receive mail), branch of service and deployment base/area of operations. Forms will be sent upon request by an officer listed in the "Contact Us" page. ***All addresses submitted will be securely handled according to OPSEC measures and will NOT be shared with anyone outside the BSM organization or its approved affiliate organizations.***
Scheduling and confirmation of sponsored events! Sponsors interested in hosting a pack-up event for Blue Star Mothers may contact any officer located on the "Contact Us" page of our site. Planning should be done well in advance of the scheduled event so that all details can be assured and completed.Although each event is different and venues will differ, a suggested time-frame for a moderate to large pack-up, including collection of items by sponsors and scheduling for attendance would be two months in advance of the planned event date. Because the BSMAGA 1 is an all volunteer organization, we will need confirmation 10 days prior to any scheduled event. This allows our volunteers to schedule work and family time around their desire to support the organization in as complete a manner as possible.
**Example of a sponsored Pack-Up event: Event date, Saturday, December 8th. Collections should begin October 8th, with a final confirmation to the BSMs no later than November 28th so transportation, time and shipping plans may be made by BSM volunteers.
What supplies do we need for a sponsored pack-up event? Although the BSMs supply the detail pack-up items, donations of shipping tape(clear "Duct" brand is best), zip-lock baggies, pens and Sharpies markers at the time of the event are heartily appreciated! Since we put the boxes together, assembly-line-style, a roomy area with sturdy tables is preferred - but the BSMs are an organized bunch and we can pack nearly anywhere!
How many items should we collect for BSMs? There is no set amount to collect for our deployed members! Even if one box is gathered, it will be appreciated, shipped and enjoyed by the service member who receives it. No show of support is EVER too small!!!
How long does a pack-up take? Weeellll... that's hard to say since it depends on the amount collected. Three to 5 hours is usually best.