The Andy K. & Friends Charitable Foundation started in 1999 in memory of former New York City fireman Andrew J. Kavasansky, who died that July, as a way to assist families in need.
The first few years they had a golf outing to raise money, but after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, they decided to ramp up their efforts. Four years ago they started Troop Day, when they collect food and hygiene items to send overseas to the troops.
“That first year it was maybe 10 of us packing stuff up we laid out on I think two tables,” said Phil Murphy, a volunteer with the organization. “We packed maybe 30 or 40 boxes. Last year we packed about 225 boxes, and this year we’re looking to pack more than 250. It just keeps growing every year.”
The fourth annual Troop Day took place Saturday at the Pearl River Elks Club in Nanuet, and saw more than 10 tables packed with supplies and food, some tables with mounds of items sitting more than a foot high. Boxes to pack stood up against a wall well over 10 feet high, and more than 75 people worked to pack the boxes, including many families and students from Pearl River and Tappan Zee high schools.
Rockland County Legislator Ed Day, whose two sons have both served in the military, stopped by to thank the group for their work and show his gratitude.
“You have no idea what these boxes mean to them over there,” Day said. “It gives them a real connection to home. Something simple like a newspaper, even if it’s three weeks old, is a big deal. Today you took a step to put a smile on a serviceman’s or servicewoman’s face, and they really need it.”
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