Even with the passing of the organization’s fearless founder, the nonprofit Helping Soldiers in the Desert marches on, providing care packages to troops serving overseas.

Si Tenenberg was a firm believer that no troop, regardless of their deployment, should go underserved. Under his tenure from the organization’s inception in 2006 to his passing in February of 2022, the nonprofit Care Packages for Troops sent over 22,000 care packages to those on active duty overseas.

Since Si’s passing, the organization has been renamed Helping Soldiers in the Desert and is now part of Welcome Home Military Heroes, a local organization offering resources to veterans across the Central Coast.

1,147 boxes: that’s the number of care packages that have ended up in the hands of U.S. military members across the world in just under two years.

What’s in the boxes? Items range from toiletries and supplies like long johns, socks, feminine products, and deodorant, to snacks like peanuts and beef jerky. During the holidays, the all-volunteer group wraps ornaments and decorations.

“When we get a list of what they want, we go crazy. We just love it. And if they have a microwave, we give them lots of popcorn,” said Shirley Read, a volunteer from Paso Robles. “We’re giving them lots of Christmas candy right now, but also good, healthy things.”

Vicky Morse is a volunteer from Atascadero. She writes cards for the troops throughout the year — birthday cards, thank you cards, sympathy cards, and this time of year, holiday cards.

“It’s a way that I can support the troops. I’m a Navy brat. My Dad was in the Navy, a World War II veteran, brother in the Navy, husband in the Army during Vietnam,” Morse said. “It’s just really important to me that they protect our freedoms.”

The work the volunteers do means something to them, but it means even more for those receiving the boxes.

“I just received this this morning,” said Myrna Wood, Helping Soldiers in the Desert spokesperson, as she held a printed-out thank you email from a soldier. “It says, ‘Thank you so much for the packages. I just received tons of candy and goodies for the sailors. I’m using most of it to stuff 140 stockings for the junior sailors for Christmas. I can’t thank you enough for all the support. God bless.’ It’s those kind of things that make everything worthwhile. Everything.”

If you know a military member from the Central Coast who would like a care package with supplies, reach out to Myrna Wood at mybizztroops@gmail.com.

The organization is always looking for financial help so if you would like to donate, click here.

To view article and watch the video: KSBY – Si’s legacy lives on: Nonprofit sending care packages to troops

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