Hey DJGMF supporters!
Have you been wondering where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to? Well, we’re back and we’re here to let you know. After forming at the end of last year, we dove in deep and put together some events that brought our community together and truly helped those in need. After Christmas, we decided to take a couple of months to really work on the behind-the-scene aspects of the organization that we weren’t able to spend very much time on upfront during the holiday season. As we continue to work on those very important aspects of DJGMF, we are so grateful for your patience and your support. We have used this time to hone in on our interests and identify exactly how we want to make a difference in the soldiers’ lives who we support. We have also been putting together more events for this year that we hope will continue to bring our community together for a great cause. Are you ready to hear what we’ve accomplished with your help and where we’re headed? Good! Because we’re ready to tell you….
What You Have Helped Us Accomplish
Stuff a Stocking for a Hero - Late November of last year we started a collection drive to gather goods to ship 100 boxes to soldiers overseas. The most important items we were looking for were blankets for soldiers who were communicating how cold they were – we definitely got what we asked for and so did they! With your help, we met our 100 box goal. Students from the Senior Class at Potomac Falls High School gathered a few weeks before Christmas and eagerly packed boxes with holiday stockings filled with snacks, toiletries, and entertainment items collected over a three week period. We mailed each box out and were informed the soldiers received the boxes just in time for the holidays. For those that specifically requested blankets, we sent boxes of blankets to share with others in their platoon. We received numerous thank you cards, Facebook posts and e-mails from grateful soldiers. One of these thank you cards is included below.
Not only did we meet our 100 box goal, but we had so many goods collected beyond what we expected that we were able to donate to some other great causes. The remainder of the blankets were donated to LAWS (Loudoun Area Women’s Shelter) where they were given to women who had escaped abusive relationships and found the shelter as a safe haven. Many of these women find themselves sleeping in their vehicles during cold winter nights with their children, and a warm blanket goes a long way. We also had a lot of additional food and snacks – all donated to the Backpack Buddies Program at Galilee Church in Sterling, Virginia. The program specifically assists children in lower income households who don’t always have food to go home to after they return from school at night or on the weekends. After the donation, DJGMF was featured in the galileE-news letter that you can check out below.
December 28, 2011
God at Work at GalileeWe at Galilee pray that you had a wonderful Christmas. We know that Christmas is the happiest time of year for many. Still, it is a sad time for others. Some of us have had experiences, which make it hard for us to savor joy or to appreciate the miracles that God creates in our days and our lives. But God does work miracles, and he can turn any situation to its best advantage–even our sins. Even our suffering.Consider the life of our neighbor, Doug Green. Doug was a caring young man who graduated not long ago from Potomac Falls High School. He joined the Army in 2007, served in Iraq and elsewhere, but was killed in Afghanistan on August 28, 2011. He was just 23 years old. His friends and family miss the warmth of the young man they loved, a jester with a relentlessly positive attitude. They have the right to feel bitter about Doug’s life being stripped from him so cruelly, and let it end there: in bitterness.Instead, Doug’s loved ones were inspired by God and by the example of this fallen soldier to form the Green Foundation. This holiday season, Galilee UMC received a donation of enough food to fill fifteen reusable shopping bags and a large container of toys. Accompanying these gifts was a card that read, in part:“We had a collection event for soldiers, but wanted to pass along some of the goods to you all. Our organization was started in the memory of Doug Green. He loved working with kids and always participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters and [we] couldn’t think of any way better to honor this passion of Doug’s than to give to Backpack Buddies. This is not only from the Douglas J Green Foundation, but from Doug as well.”Indeed, it is from Doug. If this Christmas Doug Green can give the gift of food to a hungry child, or a toy to a boy or girl in need, then you know that that is the power of God, pouringforth through the love in Doug’s family and friends. What’s our excuse if we don’t do the same? This Christmas season, may the word ring forth that God truly is with us and may that word be embodied in our every deed.To learn more about Spec. Doug Green, please read this story about him from the Washington Post:http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/spec-douglas-j-green-of-sterling-killed-in-afghanistan/2011/08/29/gIQAJagYoJ_story.htmlOr visit the Facebook page dedicated to keeping his memory alive and his gifts flowing:https://www.facebook.com/pages/GUMC-Serve/254011247962053#!/pages/Doug-Green-Memorial-Page/275953589086010Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year.
“Here’s What’s Happening”Mark you calendars!Sunday, January 22, the church will be celebrating our new Vision,Building Tomorrow – Today, with a worship service and church-wide luncheon.Everyone is invited to this special time of fellowship and fun. To make sure we order the right amount of food, please RSVP by calling the church office at 703-430-2203.
In Christ,The Galilee Team
It doesn’t stop there! After sending the 100 holiday boxes, donating blankets to LAWS, and contributing to Backpack Buddies, we still had tons of goods left. Thankfully, there is a non-profit organization called Freedom Alliance that was collecting care packages to send to troops for Valentine’s Day. Family of DJGMF board members worked to box up the remaining goods to be delivered to Freedom Alliance. In total, this contributed to an additional 100 to 120 boxes shipped overseas for Valentine’s Day.
Fundraisers & Donations - Our first fundraiser in December of last year, Wings for Warriors, was a huge success. Over 300 people from the community came out to support DJGMF and through the raffle and tips collected, everyone contributed almost $5,000! Our goal with this fundraiser was to bring the community together to learn about the cause, and raise $1,500 to cover shipping costs for holiday care packages, so to say the least we were extremely overwhelmed by everyone’s concern and compassion for those serving overseas. Throughout the remainder of 2011, we received almost the same amount in donations sent in the mail. To date, through Wings for Warriors and donations, DJGMF has collected $9,300. A portion of these funds have been used for shipping costs for packages, some have been used to cover expenses for events, and some have gone towards the cost of organizing. However, the majority of the funds are being reserved for supporting our sponsored soldiers and contributing towards costs of future fundraisers.
Adventures in Camo - The Army/Navy Game last December marked our first ever Adventure in Camo. Two dream seat tickets were donated to DJGMF enabling us to send an Army Veteran, who served in Iraq, to the Army/Navy game with one of his family members. This will be the first of many adventures!
We are so amazed at what was accomplished within a two month time period and all of this would not have been possible without each of you! Doug would be so honored that all of this good was done in his name.
What We Have Been Up To
Besides taking a little time for ourselves (we admit it!), we have returned our focus to DJGMF’s original intent with organizing – sponsoring soldiers. We have had a lot of questions from some of you about what it means to sponsor a soldier and we want to take this opportunity to clarify exactly what we’re doing.
Who We Sponsor - As an organization, we are looking for men and women from any branch of the military who have recently deployed to Afghanistan, or are deploying in the near future who are in need of support. During Doug’s deployment, he had an amazing support system of numerous family members and friends who had the means to provide support financially and emotionally, but many soldiers don’t have the same luxury. Our goal is to find those men and women who, for whatever reason, might not have any other support system. Ideally, we would love to meet and get to know a soldier prior to their departure from the states, but if we learn of someone who has recently deployed who needs our help, we are more than willing to provide it.
What “Sponsor” Means - By sponsor, we mean support in any way possible. This is where our funds come into the picture. We will build personal relationships with each individual soldier we sponsor, get to know their likes and dislikes, understand what their situation is like during deployment, learn what types of goods they are lacking in their location, and get to know their hopes and dreams for when they return home. Through this direct communication, we will use our funds to purchase items that are hard to come by overseas and send bi-weekly or weekly packages depending on the soldier’s needs. Our funds will also go towards the shipping costs of these packages, which we expect will be one of our largest expenses (each box is approximately $14 through USPS).
Our relationship with the soldier does not end when they return home. We plan to arrange a special event, day, or trip for each of our sponsored soldier to look forward to. Our funds will not be used to cover any costs associated with this aspect of our sponsorship. We will solely depend on donations from local/national organizations like sports teams, hotels, airlines, etcetera in the form of tickets to events or an entire get-a-way trip.
We are also currently working with another organization who we hope will donate some of their resources to provide counseling to each of our sponsored soldiers upon their return, if requested by the soldier. The counseling could be for transitioning back to life in the states, or for any other issues they are facing.
“Why don’t you have an adopt-a-soldier type system?” - We have gotten some people requesting to adopt a soldier and wondering why we don’t have something similar. Through our experience with an adopt-a-soldier type system, a lot of people aren’t aware of the time, effort, and resources it takes to continue to support a soldier throughout their deployment. After a couple of months of adoption, a lot of soldiers only receive letters, or stop receiving support all together. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for those who want to help, and to ensure a relationship is being sustained and support is continuously provided. If you would like to be more involved in a certain soldier’s deployment, we will have a list of requested items directly from the soldier that you are more than welcome to donate and designate for that specific soldier.
Our Sponsored Soldiers - Over the last couple of months, we have been talking with friends and family who have given us the contact information of a few soldiers who are either currently deployed, or deploying soon. We are in the process of collecting personal information, but once we have information for all of our soldiers, we will communicate it to you all at once. Until we get our website up and running, we will create a Facebook album to share photos of our sponsored soldiers and provide write-ups explaining who they are, where they’re from, why they joined the military and future plans. We hope to make this as interactive as possible! If there is specific information you would like to see, please let us know. We are getting ready to send our first care package to a sponsored soldier next week!
We are currently accepting references for potential sponsorships, so if you know of a soldier who could benefit from our support, PLEASE e-mail us or send us a private message on Facebook so we can begin the communication process.
During the last couple of months, we have also been busy getting together a few more fundraisers. Check them out below!
The Greene Turtle Open: Benefiting DJGMF
Do you love to golf? If so, this event is perfect for you! We have teamed up with The Greene Turtle in Sterling to hold our first annual golf tournament. The event will be on Wednesday, May 23 starting at 9:00AM at 1757 Golf Club off of Waxpool Road in Dulles, Virginia. Registration is $115 per player and is currently open! You can register at The Greene Turtle in Sterling, or contact them for more information. We will be holding an after-party at Greene Turtle to announce the winners and hand out prizes.
Not a golfer? You can help in other ways. We are looking to obtain sponsors for the event who are willing to donate prizes. If you, or anyone you know, would be willing to take on this role, please reach out to us! You can also help just by spreading the word and telling those golfers you know about our event.
Fun at the Falls: Honoring Doug Green
Potomac Falls High School Senior Class has reached out to us again (they are awesome!) to let us know that they will be dedicating their Fun at the Falls night to Doug this year.
When: Saturday, March 24 at 6:00PM
Where: Potomac Falls High School
What: 3-on-3 basketball tournament, Faculty/Student basketball game, face painting, movie room, kids activities, and a video game room – So, in a nutshell – FUN with other members of the community!
The entrance fee for the night will be a donation and money collected from other activities throughout the night will be donated to DJGMF*. We will also be selling DJGMF t-shirts, so if you have been wanting to purchase one, this is the perfect opportunity. Get your family together and come out for a unique bonding experience!
*Proceeds from this event will also go towards the cost of a memorial plaque to be laid at PFHS in Doug’s memory. DJGMF is committed to assist PFHS in covering the cost of the plaque, but if you are interested in making a direct donation for this specifically, please contact us. The cost of the plaque is $1,700 and we would greatly appreciate any support.
Still in the Works
DJGMF First Annual 5K - Holding a 5K in Cascades is something that is very important to us as an organization, but we need your help! We would love to hold the 5K during late August, around the one year anniversary of Doug’s death. None of the board members of the organization have any experience planning or holding a 5K, so any guidance or help we could get along the way would be greatly appreciated. If you have been directly involved in the planning of a 5K and would like to help, please reach out to us! We have already mapped out a route and are in the beginning stages of communicating with Loudoun County. We will also need help contacting potential sponsors for the event and arranging donations of food and water.
DJGMF Team - As we have pulled our organization together over the last couple of months, we have realized just how much help we will need with our future endeavors. With each of our board members either working or attending school full time, we are looking for individuals who are willing to help with some of the internal event planning aspects for the organization. We will also need volunteers to assist with tasks on the days of events and we plan to put together a contact list in a few weeks. If you’ve been looking for ways to help, keep an eye out for a Facebook post a little down the road. We’ll be asking for contact information and ways you’re willing to contribute your time.
Our Website - We are working on it! We finally have a landing page up and running. This is our temporary one-stop-shop with access to our Facebook page, this blog, and our twitter page. Over the next couple of weeks, a meeting will be held with our web developer who will help us with the next steps. The first part of our webpage will be an ‘About Us’ section. We will be taking it one section at a time, but this will eventually be the place to go to learn about the various aspects of DJGMF including its members, sponsored soldiers, events, and news. We are so excited for our website, but are opting to focus more on supporting soldiers, so it will take some time to complete.
Check it out: http://dontstopbelieving.us/
T-Shirts - We have 100 t-shirts we will be selling at Fun at the Falls: Honoring Doug Green. If these t-shirts go quickly, we plan to have additional t-shirts made to sell to those of you who are not able to make it that night. Keep an eye out over the next two weeks for a Facebook post regarding t-shirt sales.
He Was Red White and Blue - Richard Shine, Doug’s Uncle, wrote and produced a song in Doug’s memory. The song is available for purchase on iTunes and all proceeds go towards supporting the troops. Richard donated 25 CD’s to DJGMF and we are asking for a donation of any amount for the CD. If you are interested, please contact one of the board members or post on our FB wall. As we only have a limited amount, they will go on a first come first serve basis.
Now that we have concluded our hibernation period of the Winter months, we are more than ready to get back out into the community and interact with each of you. The down time and the new season will add an extra spring to our step and we are confident that with your continued support we will make even more of an impact in the coming year!
May the force be with you (and of course, don’t stop believing)!
The Green Team