A slice of home

Hank Hayes • Nov 13, 2017 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT – Eastman Chemical Co. believes a little bit of home can go a long way for military service members stationed overseas.

That’s why Eastman sponsors Supplies For Soldiers, an annual initiative that sends care packages to friends, family and loved ones who are deployed overseas during the holiday season.

“Eastman has always been a strong supporter of the military, and this program exhibits our personal support for those service men and women deployed overseas,” said Etta Clark, vice president of Global Public Affairs and Policy. “Simply providing items like toothbrushes, magazines, snack bars, books, or blankets – small things that we take for granted and use every day but are needed and appreciated by our soldiers – affords us the opportunity to show our troops how much their service to our country means to us.”

Started in 2009 by an Eastman team member whose husband was deployed to Afghanistan, Supplies For Soldiers has grown into a companywide campaign, with 14 of Eastman’s other domestic sites now participating. Since 2012, Eastman team members have sent more than 2,800 care packages to deployed U.S. soldiers.

Last year, Eastman – with help from several community partners and neighbors – collected a record-setting 25,000 items, which were used to fill 1,038 care packages shipped to 73 U.S. soldiers deployed overseas.

This year, Eastman hopes to spread even more holiday cheer to service men and women stationed overseas.

“The Eastman Supplies For Soldiers program is one way we can do something personal for those fighting for our freedom,” said campaign manager Angela McCamy, a corporate social responsibility specialist at Eastman. “It’s a chance to send them some pieces of home during the holiday season. The simple task of donating something we use every day, that we may take for granted, can really make a positive impact for our soldiers.

“I was recently told by a veteran that opening a package from home was like opening a box of sunshine. It is simply an honor to be able to make a difference in the lives of those defending our freedom. It’s a small act, but it means the world to our soldiers who are away from their families during the holiday seasons.”

Now through Dec. 5, the community is invited to donate hygiene items, practical items ranging from batteries to twin-sized bed sheets, nonperishable foods/drink mixes and entertainment items such as DVDs, playing cards and inflatable sports balls to Eastman’s Supplies for Soldiers campaign. A full list of acceptable donation items is available online at www.responsibility.eastman.com/s4s.

Drop-off locations in Kingsport include:

•Eastman’s Toy F. Reid Employee Center.

•Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

•Participating CVS Pharmacy locations (West Stone Drive, Allandale, Memorial Boulevard and Fort Henry Drive).

•WalMart – 2500 W. Stone Drive

•Supplies For Soldiers Headquarters – 252 Broad Street.

Monetary donations can be made through the Eastman Foundation’s PayPal account at www.responsibility.eastman.com/s4s. All donations will be used to purchase items for the care packages.

To submit the name of an actively deployed U.S. service member you would like to see receive a taste of home, email McCamy at [email protected] before Nov. 28.