INFINITE HEROES PROGRAMS
Each year our Infinite Heroes committee continually explores new ways to serve our military and veteran community. Our wonderful community partners, donors and volunteers help make it all possible.
2022 was a banner year for our Hero Tree collection. Our tree distribution expanded to 24 locations throughout Florida, Maryland, and New Jersey. We collected over 1,000 bags and delivered them to America's Warrior Care Package Project, Blue Star Mothers Gulf Coast-12, and Operation Yellow Ribbon. Our Snacks For Solders collection had a great year also. We collected van loads of snacks for distribution by BLue Star Mothers Gulf Coast-12.
In 2021, we added another program to Infinite Heroes. Infinite Hope serves the homeless veteran population through a collection of non-perishable food and supplies at the Combat Cafe in Umatilla, Florida. What started as an initial donation from Infinite Heroes, expanded to Combat Cafe patrons, supporters near and far knitting hats and blankets, and a local hospital that resulted in a generous product donation from Tropicana. During the winter months, we collect supplies and non-perishable food and distribute the supplies to Veterans Helping Veterans in Ocala, which serves North Central Florida counties.
Our Giving Thanks Gift Bag program began in 2017 with three veteran homes in three states. Infinite Heroes raised money through donations and grants to fund the program for 500 gift bags. Over the next two years the program expanded to five states and over 1,200 bags. In 2020, the pandemic caused us to suspend deliveries to veterans homes as they restricted any outside donations.
Snacks for Soldiers began in 2020 to replace the gift bag program. We reached out to our community business partners to serve as collection sites. In 2020, our collections were delivered to Operation Shoebox in Belleview, FL.
In 2020, we began the Hero Tree program. Our community partners hosted a Hero Tree in their businesses and collected travel-size personal hygiene supplies and toiletries. Each tag has a list of items and a gallon resealable bag. The bags are returned to the collection sites prior to the holidays for distribution to deployed military by nonprofit organizations that supply our troops.
Beginning with four trees in 2020, we ended up with nine trees (including two in Ohio) as more businesses wanted to participate in our program. Collections in 2020 were delivered to Operation Shoebox in Belleview, Florida. In 2021, we have 13 Hero Trees to honor the 13 Fallen Soldiers and our collections this year will be delivered for distribution to Support Our Troops in Tampa, FL, and Blue Star Mothers in Dayton, OH.