Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast Joins Innkeeper Team to Bake and Mail Goods to U.S. Service Members Overseas this 4th of July
As Independence Day nears, inns across the U.S. are coming together to offer sweet comfort with homemade baked goods in a show of gratitude and appreciation to troops deployed overseas. Cookies, socks, banana bread, and toothpaste will be in the mail to U.S. service members deployed overseas by the 4th of July, courtesy of innkeepers across the country. The special military care packages are part of a new “Inn Support of Our Troops” initiative.
“When I heard that Soldiers’ Angels was looking for virtual volunteers to bake and mail goods to service members I knew I wanted to participate,” said Karen Wilson, who co-owns The Lion & the Rose Bed & Breakfast in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, Steve. “Both of our dads are Army vets and we have a special place in our hearts for all service members.” The couple was hoping to recruit some inns. At present, they have more than 30.
Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast in Jacksonville is one of the inns recruited for the baking team. Innkeeper Gwenn Eyer joined other innkeepers to send care packages to show support for our troops. Although hit hard by loss of income due to the Coronavirus, Gwenn said that she and other innkeepers want the world to know, “We’re still in business, we’re still serving our communities, and we’re still volunteering.” Recognized nationally for “Giving Back” by the Association of Lodging Professionals, Gwenn is no stranger to service to others, but she says it is more challenging when under stress. “We lost $1000 in reservations the first week of the travel ban. We basically lost or postponed all of our future reservations after that time. Events have been cancelled, and those reservations could not be pushed out. We are very happy that our guests have started to return! We’re thankful for both the revenue and for the opportunity to share Jacksonville and our dedication to hospitality with others. Baking and sending packages to deployed servicemen and women provided an opportunity to use skills that we typically use with our guests. Cookies and milk has always been a popular bedtime snack at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast! Our Angel Baker care packages include four dozen cookies, along with other snacks and comfort items.”
Soldiers’ Angels is a national charity providing aid, comfort, and resources to the military, veterans, and their families. Inns have registered independently to participate as Soldiers’ Angels Angel Bakers, where they may access a database with the first name and state of each service member that has expressed interest in receiving baked goods. Most inns are choosing to send a care package to someone from their home state. So far this year, Angel Bakers nationwide sent over 1,500 care packages between January and May. Last year, over 2,200 packages were shipped overseas. The organization holds the highest level of recognition from the world’s largest source of nonprofit information, the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, and is also one of the highest rated nonprofit organizations on GreatNonprofits.
“Volunteers are the beating heart of Soldiers’ Angels and we are honored that Innkeepers from across the country are inspired by our mission and are our joining our volunteer community,” said Amy Palmer, President and CEO of Soldiers’ Angels. “Deployed Service Members face challenges even during the best of times, however, with the additional strain placed on them in recent months, they could use our support now more than ever.”
Many of the participating inns had to close their doors temporarily amid the pandemic, suffering unprecedented financial hardships. Some have had to contend with the loss of income and the anxiousness over the loss of their home – since many owners live on the premises too. Baking sweets and mailing goods has provided a much-needed outlet.
PHOTO CREDIT: Cory Garner, ElCrow Photography and Design
About Soldiers’ Angels: Soldiers’ Angels is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides aid, comfort, and resources to the military, veterans, and their families. Founded in 2003 by the mother of two American soldiers, the organization now has a global network of volunteers — representing all 50 states and over a dozen countries abroad — work tirelessly to ensure that those who serve or have served are supported, uplifted, and remembered through a variety of support programs.(Tax ID# 20-0583415). Learn more at www.soldiersangels.org.