GGC students work with charity to give comfort to U.S. soldiers overseas

Three Georgia Gwinnett College students have taken on a pretty substantial task – they are collecting donated items for “care packages” to send to deployed military troops overseas. Working with local charity Troop Bebop, the girls already have secured a $1,000 grant to Troop Bebop from Wal-Mart, but they are looking to do more.

Three Georgia Gwinnett College students have taken on a pretty substantial task – they are collecting donated items for “care packages” to send to deployed military troops overseas. Working with local charity Troop Bebop, the girls already have secured a $1,000 grant to Troop Bebop from Wal-Mart, but they are looking to do more.

The students, Kim Ferrell, Amy Fondren and Stephanie Hewes, are taking an introduction to marketing class at GGC and their assignment is to market any event of their choice. The three chose the charity because they said they wanted to make a difference in the lives of people. As part of their project, they are placing boxes around GGC’s campus to collect items for the care packages such as AT&T international rechargeable phone cards; CDs; pre-packaged snacks such as chips, cookies, candy and crackers; powdered drink mix such as Kool-Aid, Crystal Light or Propel; beef jerky, coffee, sugar and sugar substitute packets, gum, mints, lotion, lip balm, shampoo, disposable razors, hand sanitizer, electronic hand held games, sun glasses, pens, paper, books, magazines, DVDs, etc. So far, the donations are coming in at a rapid pace.

The students are collecting the items until mid-November when they will take it to the Troop Bebop USA Troop rally at the Collins Hill Road Wal-Mart in Lawrenceville on November 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Supporting our troops is very important in this economical and political environment we’re living in,” Amy, who lives in Suwanee, said. “But this is not a Republican thing or a Democrat thing we’re doing. It’s about the military and their support of America.”

To kick off their marketing campaign, the students sold items to support their cause, including “Support the Troops” bracelets, American flag pins and red, white and blue or yellow “Support the Troops” ribbons. Besides the drop-off boxes at the college, the students are placing additional collection boxes at various businesses across Gwinnett County. The girls literally chased down fellow students and faculty members, asking them if they wanted to support the troops overseas and handed out flyers detailing their marketing project. They then tried to sell their wares or interest them in a bottle of water or a pretty good sized brownie. All the proceeds from the sale will go to Troop Bebop.

Stephanie’s brother is a Marine, and although he is not currently deployed, he has served time in Iraq.

“I like the satisfaction in knowing that I’ve done something good,” she says. “Not only is this project for a grade and a wonderful learning experience– it’s something that is good for our community, the marketing major from Lilburn says.

Troop Bebop was founded by Buford resident Barbara Swenson who was nicknamed “Bebop” by her father when she was a small child. She founded the non-profit agency after retiring from banking several years ago.

“This is not about me, war or politics,” Ms. Swenson says. “It’s about our U.S. Military who are stationed overseas and their needs.

“I can always use volunteers like Kim, Amy and Stephanie that will commit to helping me raise revenue, sell things, pass out flyers, wrap and box items for shipping and of course the always needed office help.

“I don’t think people realize how expensive it is to ship these items, but I have to do it. But what I do is nothing compared to the sacrifices our soldiers make every day. It is my job to make sure they know we are behind them one-hundred percent.”

Anyone in the community may donate items to Troop Bebop during the students’ drive. They can be dropped off at the college in any of the buildings or items can be taken to the Collins Hill Wal-Mart on November 15.

Those wishing to make cash donations to Troop Bebop may do so by sending a check to: Troop Bebop USA, Post Office Box 492113, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043.

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