'Anything is a lot; anything is everything.'
In late September, U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Sanchez was deployed to Iraq for a combat tour. When speaking with his parents, he told them how hard it was to get supplies he needed and wanted.
“He started telling us about the limitations of the bazaars they’re allowed to go to; there’s maybe two or three they’re allowed to go to off-base," said Ryan’s father, Chris. "He said everything was insanely expensive.”
So, the family sent Ryan a care package from Portland, which he distributed to his fellow soldiers.
“It was about 20 pounds,” Chris said. “He said it was gone in roughly an hour, because a lot of the other soldiers aren’t getting care packages.”
One of the most popular items in the care package, and something the soldiers wanted more of, is popular locally as well.
“The one specific thing everybody is requesting is more Whataburger ketchup; regular and spicy,” Chris said.
The family hatched a plan to send more care packages, and gather as many supplies as they could send. So, Chris posted on a local Facebook page, asking for help gathering supplies.
“We just decided to reach out and see if we can get some help to get these soldiers taken care of,” Chris said. “It’s only been a week. I didn’t get a whole lot, but a lot of people in the city of Portland have reached out to help.”
He said it’s been tough finding time to meet up with people to collect supplies between work, school, and Halloween, but the family plans on collecting supplies every weekend somewhere in Portland to send to their son to distribute.
“Whatever he can’t get to other posts, maybe he can drop all the boxes off at central supply and have a central supply where soldiers can go and pick from,” Chris said. “Anything is a lot; anything is everything.”
As a veteran, Chris knows how meaningful care packages can be when deployed.
“When you’re overseas, and you can’t get a hold of much, you get something like that and it brings you back to home,” he said.
The family is collecting food, tobacco products, and hygiene products to send to troops. Those interested in donating can reach Chris on Facebook, or his cell phone at (361) 728-8328, or his wife Heather on her cell phone at (361) 633-4349.