By LINDSAY CAREY
Each young girl involved in the Junior Miss Southington organization was responsible for purchasing items anywhere from toiletries to snacks and making cards to send to the soldiers overseas.
The group gathered on Tuesday, Jan. 20 to assemble the care packages, which has become an annual volunteer project.
“Haley started it back when she did her first Memorial Day parade walk, and she learned about soldiers. So she was like ‘let’s do soldier care packages’ and she just followed it through every single year through the organization,” said her mother Jodie Derwin.
For the past four years, the Junior Miss Southington organization has donated between 18 and 20 boxes to the troops each year.
“We’re sending them gifts from home to make them feel like they’re home,” said Haley Derwin.
Many of the girls said that this project helped them learn the importance of giving back, because veterans give on an everyday basis.
“We should give back to them, because they’re the ones fighting for our country and keeping people safe,” said Adriana Palmieri.
The Junior Miss Southington organization teamed up with the Southington Memorial Detachment Marine Corps League, an organization providing veteran needs and services
The Southington Memorial Detachment Marine Corps League recently donated almost $2000 through the town to veteran’s needy families. The group has also given financial support to disabled veterans.
They also hold ceremonies in town on Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Day, and Memorial Day as well as conducting rifle salutes for marine funerals and dedicated flag poles.
“If there’s any way we can help out, we help out if we can,” said Joe Salerno.