CFI-DC Participates in USO Stuffing Party

May 16, 2009

On May 16, 2009, CFI-DC executive director, Melody Hensley, and five volunteers, sporting our logo and buttons, reported for duty at Fort Belvoir’s USO warehouse for Saturday’s stuffing party. They joined about 200 other volunteers from organizations throughout the Washington Area to stuff 13,000 “camo packs” for our troops overseas.

These small, camouflaged fanny packs are filled with items that our troops always need but find hard to get in the field – toothpaste, mouthwash, sanitizer, shaving crème, combs – you get the picture. The camo packs will join snacks, CDs, and other items packed by other volunteers into care packages to be shipped out to a new USO center in Baghdad. Since the program began in 2002, the USO has shipped out more than 1.6 million of these care packages to our troops in far away places. The program was established to fill a huge need when care packages from families and friends were banned because of the anthrax threat.

The volunteers took their places at the production lines where packs were passed down, packed, zippered, stacked into cargo palette bins each holding a thousand packs, sealed with plastic wrap, and fork lifted away. The pace was frenetic with music ranging from Village People to Latin Mambo driving the action. And of course, friendly competition soon took over. Packs were coming off each line at the rate of one every three to four seconds. Cheers rang out as each palette was taken away.

Whether it was over coffee and doughnuts in the morning or the pizza at lunch (clearly going hungry was not a problem), the CFI-ers got to chat with other volunteers from all walks of life.

It was a good day – a worthwhile cause, a chance to show the CFI flag, and a lot of fun in the bargain. We all agreed to do it again before the year’s out. So stay tuned; perhaps you’ll join us.


Left to right: Simon Davis, Melody Hensley, Olga Onishchenko, Brian Engler, Gavin Fulmer, and Trevor Neve