Cory Phillips sits in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 restaurant, along with one of her several collection bins that are placed at businesses across Craig. Phillips hopes to collect enough jerky and baked goods to send care packages to local troops stationed overseas for the holiday season.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Cory Phillips sits in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 restaurant, along with one of her several collection bins that are placed at businesses across Craig. Phillips hopes to collect enough jerky and baked goods to send care packages to local troops stationed overseas for the holiday season.

Local woman spearheads effort to send care packages to troops for holiday

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For more information about donating or helping Cory Phillips and her “Taste of Home For Christmas” effort, call 326-8975

From 1998 to 2001, Cory Phillips received many phone calls from her son, Ken Roberts, who was stationed in Bosnia and Kuwait.

Although her son was overseas during peace time, Phillips still wanted to do something for him, something that would give him a taste of home while he was abroad.

“I was never really a good letter writer,” she said. “It was a lot easier for me to just gather up a bunch of cookies and stuff and send them over.”

Throughout his tour, she sent several care packages to Roberts, but her efforts didn’t end when her son came home.

Last week, someone ap­­proached her asking where to find elk jerky to send to a friend who was stationed overseas.

“I got to thinking,” she said. “Why just stop at one? Why can’t we do something for all of our local service people overseas this Christmas?”

Phillips got started quickly and has since printed up fliers and placed collection bins at local businesses.

She is hoping for donations of local jerky and baked goods to give local soldiers stationed overseas a taste of Moffat County and their hometown while they’re far from their loved ones.

So far, bins have been set up at Cook Chevrolet, Craig Ford, Victory Motors, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and American Legion Post 62.

She said she also will accept donations of cash and is hoping to put together a list of troops and their addresses that will include as many local soldiers as she can find.

She said she wanted to give the troops a reminder that their hometown was keeping them in their hearts and minds during the holiday season.

“Let’s show them that Craig is thinking of them,” she said. “They can go and just buy JackLinks if they wanted to; they can’t buy elk jerky or fresh range beef jerky. That’s awesome because that’s from home.”

In each of the packages, Phillips will enclose a card, which she thinks embodies the message of her mission.

The front of the card features the faded image of a fireplace — the hearth represents home, she said — with the words “Merry Christmas from Craig.”

Inside is the most important message of all.

“To our friends and family, you are in our hearts and prayers this Christmas,” it reads “Have a Merry Christmas. Your hometown community.”

Phillips wanted it to be clear this was an effort of the entire town, not just one person.

“It’s not just me doing this,” she said. “It’s from the whole community. I’m not doing this for my warm feeling. I’m just organizing.”

She said she will stop collecting at noon Dec. 11 to give her and her family enough time to package up the goods and have them arrive in time for Christmas.

Although there is only a short window of time to collect donations, Phillips is optimistic the giving nature of Craig will step up to support local soldiers during a time of year when they might miss home the most.

“I’ve been in Craig 18 years,” she said. “I had a husband pass away in ’99 and people came out from the woodwork I didn’t even know knew I existed. That’s how Craig is. I think they will come through this time, too. I’ve seen the community show that they do care.”

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