BELOIT - What do foot powder, hot cocoa and socks have in common?
They are items men and women stationed abroad will not receive unless Operation Ooh-Rah Founder Linn Krafjack can raise $3,750 to ship the 150 boxes filled with the items.
Ooh-Rah suffered a major setback this August when a former sponsor was purchased by another company and no longer is providing boxes, packing materials and shipping costs.
In addition to losing its sponsor, Krafjack said the organization continues to suffer as the public forgets about military personnel stationed around in hot spots such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and South Korea. While support remains high for elderly veterans in the Stateline Area, she said there is a desperate need to also support those on active duty.
Unless more financial support is secured, Operation-Ooh Rah may not be able to ship its items. In the event it can't raise shipping funds, Ooh-Rah would donate the boxes of items to local charity and become a defunct organization.
The thought is heartbreaking to Krafjack. This August marked 12 years of Operation Ooh-Rah, a non-profit which sends care packages of toiletries, treats and other necessary items to troops stationed abroad. The 501(c)3 tax-deductible charity has helped send 102,179 pounds of goods to troops during the past 12 years.
Krafjack said it's been critical as troops often need items such as baby wipes to clean themselves, shampoo and soap, socks, stocking caps and extra food items such as cans of beans and chili. Fortunately, Ooh-Rah has been able to obtain many cans of chili from Hormel. The food has been appreciated by Marines and Army personnel in hard deployments who only get one hot meal and one cold meal a day.
Krafjack noted some of the troops belong to small units which are on the move and don't always have access to a PX grocery store or laundry facilities. Others have needed dryer sheets not only for laundry, but to keep bugs and fleas away. Having extra food items, socks or other items can be critical for their quality of life.
Ooh-Rah has been able to round up the items. It just needs enough to get them to the troops.
Those who want to donate can go to the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/operation-oohrah-christmas-ship
People can also make donations at an Operation Ooh-Rah bank account set up at Associated Bank or at a PayPal account. For more information contact Krafjack at 608-322-2664.
Some churches have been undergoing small collections but it hasn't been enough to get all the boxes shipped.
"I need monetary donations or some company to come forward which can assume shipping responsibilities. That entails boxes and costs of shipping," Krafjack.
Despite challenges with Ooh-Rah, Krafjack continues to try to support the military.
For example, she has been speaking with some Marines who go out for disabled equipment pickups in Afghanistan who have been without necessary tools. She contacted Leatherman Tools which donated 10 Leatherman Mut 16-function multi-tools valued at $159 apiece. Krafjack and her husband used their own personal funds to get the tools shipped to the Marines.
Despite more troops being sent out into international conflicts, Krafjack said believes there is less media coverage of it and less overall awareness amongst Americans. She encourages people to follow the United States Army, Marine Corps and Navy websites and Facebook pages to keep their activities and needs in mind and to seek out news on the military whenever possible.