NEW WINDSOR, Md — A family owned company in Carroll County is putting their best foot forward in supporting our troops deployed overseas.
For five straight weeks around the clock, Babylon Vault Company held a Stuff the Trailer drive benefiting America’s Warriors Care Package Project.
Community members and volunteers were asked to donate anything from snacks and drinks to personal care items like clothing, socks, and underwear.
The initial goal was to collect enough items to fill 355 care packages, but turnout was so strong that goal was quickly shattered.
Snacks, games, and personal hygiene items came in at such a rapid pace, that Babylon Vault staff had to clear out the trailer on at least five separate occasions.
Donations poured in not only from the local community, but from as far out as Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
"Snyder's of Hanover donated several cases of chips and pretzels," said Tammy Ray, Community Relations Manager at Babylon Vault Company. "I had a veteran owned beef jerky company out of Pennsylvania. He was actually a master sergeant in the Air Force who started his own beef jerky company donated us 500 packs of jerky."
Even some of the area's girl scouts and younger residents got involved.
"I've had a young girl who actually worked on the farm, made money, used her money to buy care packaged goods," said owner Donna Babylon.
Another girl previously left a note in one of the care packages, thanking troops for their service. Turns out her dad is also serving, and will soon be receiving his own gift box thanks to this initiative.
While the packages were assembled on May 21 - Armed Forces Day - due to the customs process, troops likely won't receive them until July, when they are literally air dropped to platoons stationed around the globe in the Middle East, South Africa, and Europe.
Humans aren't the only troops getting treats from back home, nope, so will our military canines.
The drive yielded hundreds-of-pounds of donated pet food and countless toys.
It was an all hands on deck effort, which started at neighborhood grocery stores.
"Weiss in Westminster and Mount Airy, they did their own drive, an incredible amount of donation," said Ray. "So those that could not make it to the trailer donated in that way, which ultimately ended up supporting the cause."
But none of it would have been possible without help from the local post office.
"The Taneytown post office, they have been wonderful, so they actually opened for us on Sunday," said Ray. "They've had special permission to do that, which I think is really incredible that they went to bat for this cause."
Shipping isn't cheap either, each package costs about $20. "We're going to be talking about $10,000," said Ray. The team at America's Warriors Care Package Projects took care of the shipping costs, thanks to donations they received through their non-profit managed by the Community Foundation of Carroll County.
For Babylon Vault Company though, it's all worth it.
"Just say thanks and they know that we care, giving them a little piece of home right. There are a lot of people deployed and not enjoying the sunshine that we're having in Maryland right now, you know, to protect our country."
Helping veterans is in Babylon's blood, she was raised in a military family and has carried that on as a third generation business owner.
"My dad and his dad started our business and we've been in business 92 years," Babylon explained. "Dad's brother, George Elmer, he was in the military and he was actually killed at sea, at the Battle of Savo Island, and Daddy was also in the military four years. And so we learned at a very young age, the respect for the military is just ingrained. So when I took over the business we just continued it because it's how we grew up."
This event is just one of many Babylon Vault Company organizes for veterans throughout the year.
Last Thanksgiving, they partnered with a New Windsor restaurant to serve hot meals to veterans. They've also hosted food drives and welcome home ceremonies for Vietnam vets who never received one when they initially returned to the states from combat. And every December, Babylon teams with Wreaths Across America at dozens of cemeteries throughout town to honor our fallen heroes.
For more information about America's Warriors Care Package Project, and ways to help click here.