OPERATION: Zipper Pouch

After many months, Catherine Garrett, a member of the Junior Federated Women’s Club of Chester, shipped a huge box of specialty bags full of goodies for soldiers in the U.S. Army’s 29th Infantry Division. This division was formerly under the command of Maura Puleo’s husband, Major Bob Puleo. Maura Puleo is also a  member of the Women’s club.

The project began last November as a very kind gesture that Lindsey Uzzle, a young mother of only 28, had when she began her side business with the company “thirty-one.”  
She wanted to do something to give back to the soldiers,  so she asked during her shows if anyone wanted to purchase a zipper pouch to donate to the soldiers.  

During Garrett’s party, she mentioned Maura and Bob Puleo and Bob’s service in the Army’s 29th Infantry Division. The party agreed to adopt the infantry division and set out to sell the 30 bags.  Garrett also asked the Women’s club to contribute monies for the project.  The $150 contribution from the club was used to purchase items to stuff the bags.
“Setting a goal of 30 for Bob’s division was a challenge,” Garrett said.  “It took a while to have friends and family purchase a “thirty-one” bag to donate to the troops. But fortunately, this spring the necessary number was met.”

Garrett said she had a wonderful neighbor, Lori Everhardt, who donated her time and materials and embroidered “Thank You” in bright lime green on the black tweed bag.  At the recommendation of the Puleos the following was put in each pouch: a bag of hard candy (the soldiers like to put this in their pockets to hand out to the children), a deck of playing cards, a packet of microwave popcorn, a four-pack of chewing gum, a bag of starburst.  

Over the summer, children at a local daycare made pictures and cards so they were sorted and two were added for each soldier.  A large bag of assorted shampoos, soaps, toothbrushes, and other toiletries, which were donated, was included for them to share through their supply center.

Major Puleo returned home a few months early from his assignment and was not with his division to receive the bags, but got a chance to see what was being sent to the troops when Catherine stopped by to show the bags and the items before they were shipped to the troops.


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