Gift of Giving: Supporting Troops Through the Holidays

Gift of Giving: Supporting Troops Through the Holidays

Chelsea MandelloDec 23, '20

By Troopster Military Care Packs

NORFOLK, VA - (Dec. 22, 2020) This year, more than 96,000 U.S. troops will spend their holidays on deployment. While some will spend their Christmas or Hanukkah in places such as Kuwait, Japan, or Afghanistan during the yuletide cheer, others will be floating in the ocean aboard U.S. Navy vessels, all experiencing the same separation from family and home.

Because of this profound number of service members who will be missing home during the holidays, it is particularly special when organizations such as Express Employment Professionals (EEP) out of Illinois can help bring these heroes some holiday cheer.

“Every year, we try to do something different,” said Kelly Poulos, Front Office Coordinator, Bloomington, Illinois. “Last year, we donated to a local humane society because our owners had just lost their beloved pet. The year prior, we purchased and put together backpack care packages for children in the foster system.”

For this year’s giving event, employees at the three Express Employment Professional offices in Bloomington, Springfield, and Jackson, Illinois, donated $737 to send care packages to Marines serving overseas for Christmas.

“(This year) we decided to send care packages to the Marine branch because one of the owner’s sons enlisted in the Marines this year,” said Kara Scriven, Payroll and Accounts Receivables Specialist at the Springfield, Illinois location. “We are all family here, and we were all truly proud of the decision his son made.”

“Troopster, along with our staff of veterans and volunteers, is so thankful to the Express Employment team for their generosity and consideration for those deployed,” said Chelsea Mandello, founder and CEO of Troopster. “I spent many Holidays overseas, and I can’t tell you the impact of receiving a care package like the ones this company is sending. We are so thankful to get the opportunity to work with them.”

With an ethos of giving back, this community of employees at EEP is annually inspired to follow the lead of the Illinois EEP owners, Jim and Carole Britton, who have owned and operated the three locations since the early 1980s.

“Our owners are very generous,” said Poulos. “To (the) internal staff, they gave every employee a significant bonus earlier this year when COVID hit. Along with that, every employee receives a Christmas bonus and gift at every Christmas party.”

Poulos, and others, express deep respect for the EEP owners, who inspire them daily. Known for acts of kindness and consideration, the owners are revered as individuals who recognize their associates and community through meaningful gestures that make a “big difference.”

“Our owners are the true embodiment of what it means to give back, so every year instead of getting them a physical gift, our offices collectively do something in their honor to give back, help and support in any way we can,” said Scriven.

Despite the hardships of 2020, this year, the owners contributed $150 to every Internal employee to “gift” to someone or to give to an organization in need. Employees were empowered to “do good” for someone or something in need. “All they asked in return was for us to tell them which organizations were donated to and why,” said Poulos, who has worked for EEP for five years.

This year, to honor Jim and Carole’s grandson, who joined the Marine Corps earlier this year, the EEP team decided to send holiday care packages through Troopster’s “adopt a troop” program. Recognizing the difficulties that service members face on deployment in connecting with their families during the holidays, the EEP staff wanted to be especially mindful in supporting those in uniform.

“As a team, we know that there are a lot of soldiers/families going through the same thing this year, so we wanted to send some cheer their way,” said Poulos.

Collectively, the EEP staff will be supporting a Marine military working dog unit for Christmas. If there were one thing Poulos could say to those receiving the packs, it would be, “Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and bravery. We appreciate your selfless service, and pray for your safe return!”