By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Calla High seeks donations for troops for Christmas
TROOP3 2-18-13
Volunteers get ready to box treats for troops at the Manteca American Legion Hall. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Calla High School’s staff and students are adopting American troops this Christmas. To that end, they are teaming up with the Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program founded by Chuck and Teri Palmer after their son who was in the Marine Corps was killed in action in Iraq on May 5, 2007.

Calla High Principal Kathy Krouse, who made the arrangements with the Palmers’ Troop Support, is asking the public to join them in this effort. They will be accepting donations until Wednesday, Nov. 6, during regular school hours from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s new to us; we haven’t done it in the past,” school counselor Fred Saltzman said of this project.

They began collecting donations about a week ago, starting with letters sent to parents informing them about what the school is trying to do. They have since received “a little bit of response,” Saltzman said.

“The principal has been talking about doing this on a regular basis. Our troops are so under-appreciated. We always say we support our troops but we don’t do much beyond that. So we want to do some extra stuff especially for our soldiers serving in foreign countries; sometimes they can’t get some extra things,” added Saltzman.

He said Calla High became aware of the Palmer Troop Support project “through an ex-student of ours, Gary Smith.” He was a student at Calla High some 25 to 30 years ago, and has since done “real well and is very interested in helping the troops. For years now, he’d been participating with (the Palmer Troop Support project), shipping things and also making donations.”

They have heard about the memorial project for some time, but Smith “made us more aware” of it, Saltzman said.

Calla High grads step up to

the plate; support troops

Teri Palmer said Smith has been a big supporter of their Troop Support project.

“He is one of our volunteers. He also hosted one of our packing parties last May. He has also donated money to us” to help with the shipping of the care packages, she said.

While Smith was involved with Troop Support, he was at the same time being involved in a project at Calla High. The school was working on a school yearbook but they were having problems with funding to finance it. When it looked like the financing issue was going to derail the project altogether, Smith stepped in and donated “a sizeable amount of money” to get it completed.

While working with the school on the yearbook, Smith told Calla staff and students about the volunteer work he was doing with the Palmers’ memorial project for American service men and women.

Smith’s wife, Susan, is also a graduate of Calla. The husband and wife are now owners of a business in Modesto called Modesto Transfer and Storage.

“They had heard about what we were doing when we were doing a troop packing party at a high school in Modesto. They read about it in the Modesto Bee, and that struck a chord in his (Smith’s) heart,” Palmer said.

Since then, the Smiths have hosted a packing party at their MTS business in Modesto. They have also donated $500 for the mailing of the care packages, “which is a tremendous help,” Palmer said, because each box costs $14.85 to mail.

As for Calla High volunteering to help, she said, “We are pleased to have Calla wanting to step alongside us.”

Saltzman said some Calla teachers are also talking about having their students write letters to the troops which will be sent along with the care items in the packages. Teri Palmer really welcomes that idea.

“It’s the personal letters that really touch (the troops),” she said.

Some of the soldiers to whom they are sending the care packages are barely older than the Calla High students, she noted.

“They are just kids, and they’re overseas serving their country. And the least we can do is to let them know we care about them,” Palmer said.

Packing parties for

care packages

After they have collected all the donations, Calla High staff will deliver them to JB Hunt at 2660 Loomis Road in Stockton (off Mariposa Road) where the “second annual Veterans Day troop box packing party” will be held, Palmer said. JB Hunt will be serving barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers for the volunteers.

There are similar packing parties on schedule. On Sunday, Nov. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m., the American Legion in Manteca will be playing host to a similar event at the Legion Hall on East Yosemite. Light refreshments will be available for volunteers as well. On Dec. 8, there will be another packing party held at Merrill Gardens on Union Road in Manteca. This is the third time the independent-living facility is hosting the event.

The following is a partial list of items that can be donated to the Calla High Adopt Troops for Christmas project: Candy (all), nuts, fruit breezers (throat drops), writing paper, envelopes, greeting cards, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, dental floss, mouthwash in small containers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, instant coffee, coffee creamer (powdered), Gatorade, tea mixes (sweet or tea bags), sugar packets, salt & pepper packets, Granola bars, jerky, instant soups, instant oatmeal, tuna kits, gum, board games (travel size), playing cards, baby wipes (individual packs), nose spray, eye drops, deodorant, foot powder, hand lotion, hand sanitizers (individual size), lip balm, Q-Tips, shampoo/conditioner, soap, tissues (individual packs), toiler paper (travel size), Tylenol (individual packs), plastic spoons/forks/knives, small American flags, Zip lock baggies, batteries (all sizes), duct tape, flashlights (mini), and disposable razors.

For additional information, call Calla High School during business hours at 858-7230. For more information about the Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Troop Support Program, visit