Singing for Soldiers events in Polk collect many items for troops

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon be receiving packages shipped out earlier this month from residents of Polk County and surrounding counties in an effort called “Singing for the Soldiers.”

Over the last two years seven “Singing for Soldiers” events have featured gospel concerts with local and nationally known artists, and have collected thousands of pounds of personal items and money. The donations cover shipping costs to send the soldiers items to make their time a little more pleasant.

The Nov. 13 and 15 events&bsp; held at Saluda School and Midway Baptist Church collected 700 pounds of personal items, including hundreds of pairs of socks, more than 300 knit caps, snacks, personal toiletries, CDs, DVDs and more.

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Almost $2,000 in cash was also collected to purchase more items and pay shipping costs for the items as well as to ship to troops 500 full-size Bibles donated through the local efforts of Sgt. Shane Jackson of Green Creek. Jackson, an army reserve chaplain and pastor of Landrum Independent Baptist, coordinated with area churches, which paid for the printing of a special military Bible.

Sherry Carney of Mill Spring began the Singing for Soldiers collection effort in 2007 after hearing of the need from her brother-in-law, Capt. Mike McCauley who was stationed in Iraq.

Carney recruited help from Deb Williamson later to begin collecting, and James Metcalf of WJFJ 1160am in Columbus began organizing the gospel concert events in Jan. 2008.

This months events featured the Reggie Saddler Family which frequents the top ten gospel charts, the Phillips Family of Gaffney and the Green River Boys of Saluda.

A poor man’s supper was cooked by Joe Foster of Columbus at the Saluda School to raise money, and other volunteers and local sponsors also helped with the event.

Metcalf, Williamson and Carney continue to work with various chaplains to distribute the items overseas.

If you would like to donate items or money towards the effort, contact WJFJ Radio at 828-894-5858.