Palatine residents Pat and Mac McCoy first started making care packages for their Marine son and his 12-man special forces team.
In the eight years since, their efforts have evolved into the Yellow Ribbon Support Group, which recently surged past a remarkable milestone: 20,000 care packages delivered to troops on foreign shores.
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The McCoys have built a loyal following of volunteers who meet a few times a month to put the packages together. They're then distributed at events around the suburbs to people willing to take them to the post office and pay for shipping.
Another 150 boxes were handed out during Palatine's Memorial Day festivities.
The group is motivated by letters and emails it receives from grateful soldiers, which the McCoys forward on to volunteers.
"The support of friends and family back home keeps us focused on our job at hand and reminds us of what we have to come back to at the end of our deployments," Marine Capt. Michael Donaldson wrote in a recent email, promising to give the stuffed animal included in his care package to a local Afghan child.
Yellow Ribbon is always in need of various donations, including a current need to replenish an extremely low inventory of toothbrushes. To learn more or to help, visit yellowribbonsg.org.