Price of postage limits group sending goods to soldiers

- If you'd told Mark Van Trees he would still be sending packages to troops 15-years after the war in Afghanistan started, he wouldn't have believed you.

"The least we can do is, we are sitting here in air conditioned comfort, we can send them some basic needs," he said.

Van Trees is behind Support the Troops, an organization that sends 40-pound boxes to bases around the world, filled with snack foods, magazines and books, games and personal care items. The boxes are sent to soldiers whose friends and family have submitted their names. 

"We have some who have been on eight or nine tours," he said. "This was going to be a fairly quick action, obviously as you well know, this is the longest war in the country's history."

After 10 years of collecting supplies, Support the Troops has no shortage of things to send overseas. The issue now, is paying for the postage to send the boxes.

Each package costs $54 to send overseas.

The non-profit depends on donations for postage, but doesn't have enough in its account to cover the next month of shipments.

"Right now we are doing five to seven boxes a day, that's how much money we have coming in we can ship out," Van Trees said.

Some troops will wait many weeks, and Support the Troops has a waiting list of 260 deployed troops, of whom 40 are from Florida. The organization adds two to four names a week.

Its warehouse in Wesley Chapel is a reminder there is still a war and Americans play a major role.

"We are going to be there for quite a while," he said. "One percent serve [our country]. The other 99-percent can stand behind them and support them."

If you would like to donate to Support the Troops, you can email

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