Defer Elementary Organizes Care Packages for Air Squadron, Grosse Pointe Dad
Grosse Pointe Park school gets help this weekend from Caribou and customers whose purchases help pay for shipping and contents of care packages.
Defer Elementary School is showing support to a local dad and 300 Michigan-based members of his air force squadron by organizing a care package collection.
The effort to show some hometown love and support to the 107th Red Devils Fighter Squadron has spread beyond the school and into the community with Caribou Coffee in the Village getting involved and parents and students offering their time and money to help. They're asking others to help too--by stopping in at Caribou today of Friday or by making a monetary donation at the school through next week.
Jason Davis, who pilots an A-10 Warthog and is dad to Defer fourth- and second- graders, Blaire and Brooke, and husband to Amanda, will be away with his squadron through January--the family's first holiday apart. The Selfridge-based air force unit left last month.
It was Davis' experience with what military men and women really need and want during deployment that became the basis for what may seem like unusual contents for the care packages.
Coffee, jerky and hard candy.
"At the end of last year Amanda Davis came and said Jason is being deployed…I was thinking about it during the summer and decided to talk to Jason about what they could really use," says Molly Collins, a Defer third-grade teacher.
As advisor of Defer's student council, the now 33-weeks pregnant Collins came up with a project for council members. It since has spread across the school with a coin drive and other projects, and numerous parent, teacher and student volunteers helping by taking coins to Coinstar, buying jerky and candy and packing the boxes.
In addition, teachers and students will be writing letters and making holiday cards for the squadron. And Defer's Art Club made a banner that's hanging at Caribou.
Caribou got involved by offering to donate 10 percent of all its sales today and Saturday. The proceeds will defray the costs of shipping and pay for the purchase of jerky, candy and coffee.
In addition, Caribou has discounted coffee that's purchased specifically for the care packages. About 90 bags have been purchased so far, Collins says.
Amanda Davis says she has been touched by the offers and effort.
She said Collins asked "Do you care if we do this….I didn't know what lengths she would go to. It's just been amazing," she says.
As a family that's a veteran of deployment separation, Amanda Davis has also been moved by the concern and help she and her daughters have received.
"We've always been on a military base, where everyone is going through the same thing. So it's kind of like, it is what is is," she says. "This has been nice and a little different. We've just never had this kind of experience with people being so supportive."
Collins says the plan is to have all boxes packed and mailed by Nov. 11, in time for her next big project: a baby.
"She's just been an amazing friend," says Davis. "We are so grateful."