Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Small Bit of Comfort

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Have you ever been so moved by something that it spurred you to action? That’s what happened to me during the publication of my new book, All’s Fair. Since it was set in Iraq, I knew I would have to do a lot of research for it because I hadn’t been there myself. I read dozens of soldiers’ blogs, stories, newspaper articles, and military handbooks for men and women being sent to or who were already in Iraq. But the thing that touched me the most was having a firsthand account from Corporal Matthew Blair and his unit who were stationed in Iraq at the time. They patiently answered all kinds of questions from what the sky looked like when the heat waves were coming off of it, to what kinds of things helped get them through the worst part of the day. The one common theme I saw among the soldiers was how much something from home meant to them---even if it was just a small package of candy. Because that small package of candy meant someone was thinking of them and supporting them.

I put that into my book, but I really put it into my heart. Just a small package of candy helped these men feel a small bit of comfort during one of the most trying times of their lives? How could I not want to help bring that comfort to those who were valiantly trying to serve their country? I couldn’t do much, but I knew I could do that.

So I partnered with a great organization called Operation: Care and Comfort who, since 2003, have sent over 200 tons of items in care packages for our soldiers serving overseas. They are affiliated with the Red Cross and make it their mission to bring a “touch of home” to those in the military---exactly what I was looking for. So, in conjunction with the release of All’s Fair, all next week I will be collecting items for care packages that will go to our troops. Anyone is welcome to drop off one of the most needed items (listed below) at any Seagull Bookstore across the Wasatch front. As an added incentive, when you do bring in a donation, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a free autographed copy of All’s Fair.

I have been working hard to get the word out, so we can get as many donations to our troops as possible. To kick off the whole thing, I will be appearing on the television show, Good Things Utah, on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. (You know I am dedicated to the cause because I am willing to go on television when I am eight months pregnant. If that doesn’t spell dedication, I don’t know what does!) Then, throughout the entire week I will be at several different Seagull locations to meet, greet, and thank those who have supported me both in my writing and in my care package endeavor. If you would like to come and meet me my signing schedule is on my website

I hope to see you at a Seagull next week. I want to make this July a truly patriotic one for me and my family and do something for our troops. Even just looking at Kerry’s pictures yesterday made me weepy because it brings to the forefront the true sacrifices of these military men and women so far from home. I hope you felt it, too, and it moves you to want to do something---like it has for me. Just a small bit of comfort can mean the world to a battle-weary soldier. Can you help?

***List of Needed Items

Food and Snack Items

Individually wrapped hard candy ( Twizzlers, Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Skittles, lollipops, Life Savers, Sweet Tarts, etc), chewing and bubble gum, mints, breath strips

Small packages (lunch box sized) of nuts, seeds, pretzels, cookies, chips (Pringle type containers best), Cracker Jacks, crackers, Corn Nuts, fruit snacks and fruit leather, Gardettos, microwave pop corn

Trail Mix, energy bars, protein bars, breakfast and granola bars, nut bars, instant oatmeal, Kraft Easy Mac, ramen, Cup a Noodles

Powdered, sweetened drink mixes (Gatorade, Crystal Light, Kool-Aid), ground or instant coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate, cider mix, sugar, sweetener, Coffee Mate, and condiment packets

Canned meats (NO PORK!), stews, chili, ravioli, soups, fruit, beef jerky, non-refrigerated microwavable meals

Hygiene, Entertainment, and Miscellaneous

Hotel/travel sized gel deodorant, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste and mouthwash, toothbrushes, dental floss, sanitary pads and tampons.

Twin blade razors, eye drops, nose drops, unscented baby wipes, wet wipes, small hand sanitizer, Mach III Turbo razor blades

Small Kleenex packets, Q-Tips (Large packages are fine), anti-fungal creams, Band Aids, medicated foot powder, sunscreen.

DVDs, AAA and AA batteries, pens, pencils, blank greeting cards and stationery, stickers, disposable cameras, AT&T phone cards.

Gallon, quart, sandwich, and snack sized Ziploc bags (to make care packages)

Hand written cards and letters of encouragement for our troops


At 7/10/2008 3:56 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Next week? Aren't you going to be at the Orem Seagull tomorrow? It's on my calendar, it MUST be right. =)

At 7/10/2008 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I *am* going to be at the Orem store. Are you going to come and visit me? :-)


At 7/10/2008 6:48 PM, Blogger Stacy G. Anderson said...

Thanks for inspiring me. I've been thinking for months about how to do a service project for the kids at The Christmas Box hose in conjunction with The Santa Letters. You gave me some great ideas!!


At 7/10/2008 7:46 PM, Blogger Annie said...

I need to read your book! My cousin, who did two tours as an army ranger (and now trains other rangers) came to visit several months ago and told us of some of his experiences in Iraq. He is my hero. We felt honored that he would share them with us, since his wife told us later that he rarely talks about them.

At 7/11/2008 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats on your new book!

Federal Way florist

At 7/11/2008 10:02 AM, Blogger Pat said...

I too have several family members who have served in Iraq - I am anxious to read this book!

I'm also excited to see that you are coming to a Seagull near me, I will probably see you there!

At 7/19/2008 1:37 PM, Blogger G. Parker said...

I think you were very brave to go on tv at this stage of pregnancy! I wouldn't have...grin. You did excellent! I am so proud of your son is in basic, so he won't be going over there any time soon, but just knowing that there are those looking out for our guys is the best news I can have. Take care!!


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