The Blue Star Mothers of Maricopa will be busy Wednesday night packing boxes to send to sailors of the USS Fitzgerald in Japan.
The donated items will benefit the crew of the Navy destroyer that collided with a large, commercial ship in Japan over the weekend. Seven of those sailors died.
Donations can be dropped off at 6 p.m. inside the Maricopa Center of Entrepreneurship.
“We just want to do what we can do to tide that feeling of helplessness,” said Tracy Davis, president of Blue Star Mothers of Maricopa.
Davis said donations of non-perishable snack food items like jerky and granola bars are especially helpful to the grieving sailors who she said often work long days without much time to break for lunch.
The cause is close to Davis’ heart. Her son Blane Davis once served aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in Japan for three years.
“Every time I think about it I tear up because my own kid was there. He sailed those very same waters so there is a kinship. They’re not biologically my kids, but they are my kids,” Davis said.
Letters of support will also be accepted at the donation drive.
“They’re mourning too,” Davis said. “They think of their crewmates as sisters and brothers.”
Travel sized items that can be donated include:
Foot powder, eye contact solution, disposable razors
Lip balm, eye glass cleaner, deodorant (stick; no antiperspirant), Band-Aids
Body wash, (preferably 3-in-1)
Toothbrushes (individually packaged), toothpaste, mouthwash
Coffee (ground, vacuum-packed bags), chewing gum
Rice Krispies Treats, granola bars, Pop-Tarts
Crackers (Saltines), Graham Crackers, Jerky
Power bars, Energy bars, Trail Mix Soup, Ramen noodle dry packages
Pre-sweetened powdered drink packets (Gatorade, Kool-aide, etc.)
Hard candy (no chocolate)
Davis said cash donations are also welcomed. She said those funds will help the organization buy items listed above that they still may need after the donation drive concludes Wednesday night.