‘Grinch’ steals Christmas presents bound for troops

See’s for Soldiers steps up to help
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On Monday morning, Dec. 17, Move America Forward, the nation’s largest grassroots pro-troops organization, had over $5,000 worth of care packages, or 120 care package orders, stolen.

The packages were addressed with the names of the Armed Forces member they ere intended for and ready for delivery to Afghanistan. Efforts are under way to replace the stolen care packages and donations have been coming in.

“It’s really overwhelming to receive so many phone calls and hear from so many people who just want to help make sure that Christmas gets to Afghanistan,” said Scott Raab, MAF outreach coordinator. “It’s hard to imagine who would take them; it’s the sixth year MAF has done special Christmas care packages and we are really hoping to make up for everything taken.”

After the story went viral, donations and concerned citizens began to step up. By Wednesday, more than 850 pounds of See’s Candy had been delivered by See’s for Soldiers, a group that uses See’s candy as their main source to raise support for the troops.

“I just heard about how someone stole all those care packages meant for our troops in Afghanistan and I had to help,” said See’s for Soldiers co-founder, Army National Guard Sgt. First Class David Partak “Like everyone else, I just want to do my part and we knew by working with Move America Forward we could reach many more men and women in uniform. We are happy to do it and will do it from now on.”

Tom Kubicko, who heads up the Rocklin Kiwanis Club’s See’s Candy store in the Walgreen’s parking lot at Park and Sunset, said he was shocked to hear about the care packages being stolen.

“It’s like the Grinch that stole Christmas,” he said. “How could you possibly steal Christmas presents heading to soldiers? That’s almost impossible to believe, that somebody would do that.”

Kubicko added that people buy candy to donate to soldiers every day at the Rocklin store, with gifts ranging from 1-pound boxes to larger donations.

“I have been moved by the outpouring of support for our organization, Move America Forward, by so many individuals and groups like See’s for Soldiers,” said Debbie Lee, spokesperson for MAF. Debbie’s son Marc, the first Navy SEAL to be killed in Iraq, lost his life in 2006 in Ramadi. “Working together with groups like See’s for Soldiers, we will be able to do that much more to support our troops on the front lines,” concluded Lee.

A police report has been filled out with the Sacramento Police Department and measures are being taken to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, but the group’s founder says the damage has already been done.

“Our volunteers, who worked for hours over the long weekend preparing those packages to get shipped out, are devastated.” said Melanie Morgan, who co-founded the group in 2004. “We have 68,000 troops serving in Afghanistan and we would hate to think that some might not receive Christmas cheer this year because of some heartless Grinch out there who stole those packages. We hope he grows a heart and does the right thing, but in the meantime we are fundraising to get care packages to the troops as quickly as possible.

Move America Forward, a charity based in Sacramento, supports our troops and their missions in the war on terror. Move America Forward is supported by hundreds of thousands of pro-troop activists, veterans and military families across the nation. To date, they have shipped more than 300 tons of care packages to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.