Westfield teen collecting donations for soldier care packages

Westfield teen collecting donations for soldier care packages
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 2:23 PM EDT
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WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) --- A sophomore from Westfield High School is spending her free time giving back to those who give their service to the country. She’s collecting items for care packages that will be sent to soldiers.

This is the second year in a row that Jillian Battles is collecting items for soldiers. Exactly 800 care bags will be filled and donated across western Massachusetts, as well as overseas. She started the drive on September 11 and will collect items until Veterans Day. The packages will then be filled at the YMCA in Westfield and distributed around Christmas time. She told Western Mass News how coming from a military family and seeing how little veterans are appreciated pushed her to create these packages.

“There are a lot of homeless veterans, which is very wrong because they put their lives on the line for our country and our freedom and they should be respected most out of anybody in our country,” Jillian Battles noted.

That is when Battles started reaching out to big and small companies for help and with donations from companies like MGM Springfield, Big Y, Stop and Shop, and Costco, she started to fill her house with boxes of donations for the care packages.

“She was very heartbroken to find out how little our troops and veterans get and that especially the troops, while overseas, they have to provide things for themselves,” said Jillian’s mother, Jen Battles.

Western Mass News spoke with Jen Battles, who is helping her daughter reach out to the community on social media to collect toiletries, packaged snacks, blankets, and books. She added how the care packages from last year had notes in them from Jillian, who is planning to do the same thing again this year.

“It says a little something from me to you to say thank you for being you. Thank you for our freedom, Jillian Battles…It’s just a little bit of appreciation for everything that they do and have done for us,” Jillian Battles noted.

As for what items they still need the most, Jillian said instant coffee and blankets.

“Blankets are the biggest thing. They make the troops feel at home and, especially, I am sending them overseas this time. I wasn’t able to because of COVID the last time I did it, but this time, when they get the blankets, they get that sense of comfort,” Jillian Battles explained.

Donations are being collected at:

  • Westfield YMCA
  • Westfield High School
  • Shortstop Bar and Grill in Westfield
  • Fitness First in Feeding Hills

If you are interesting in learning how to donate, you can visit Jillian’s Amazon Wishlist. In addition, large print crossword books and large print word search books are also being accepted.