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Cups of coffee warm hearts of soldiers overseas

photoTimes-Mirror Staff Photo/Anna Leon Joy Chalk’s son is on tour in Afghanistan. She’s helping with an effort that puts cups of hot coffee in the hands of soldiers overseas.

Joy Chalk was browsing Facebook in October 2009 when she saw the link for Cup of Joe for a Joe, a program that allows people to sponsor a cup of coffee to be given to someone in the U.S. military.

“I see a lot of [links], but that one caught my attention,” Chalk said. Chalk’s son, Brad, 28, is in the Marines and is currently stationed in Afghanistan.

With Cup of Joe for a Joe, sponsors pay $2 for a soldier to receive a cup of coffee from a Green Beans Coffee shop on a military base overseas. Sponsors also can also send an electronic note for the soldier along with the coffee. Many soldiers choose to respond personally to the note, but a stock response is always sent so the sponsor knows the gift reached its destination.

Chalk said even a gift as small as a cup of hot coffee can be very meaningful to a soldier overseas.

“When you give something very small and very personal like a cup of coffee and a note, you just have a vested interest,” Chalk said. “There’s that tie, there’s that bond, there’s that interest in their well-being.”

Chalk has heard back from some soldiers, and has established pen-pal relationships with a few of them. Sometimes they’ve tried to say “thank you” for the coffee, but Chalk says she tells them that she wants to thank them for how they’re serving their country.

Chalk is a stay-at-home mom, and when she has a little free time, she gets to know the parents and families of the other Marines in her son’s unit.

“I feel like all of the Marines are like family to me,” Chalk said. “I’ve developed tight friendships with the moms and dads of the unit.”

Brad is the oldest of six children, and has wanted to be in the military since he was about 2, Chalk said. In January 2007, he enlisted. He made sure to tell her in a public place.

“I was at an indoor soccer game,” Chalk said. “I didn’t make a scene, crying and all.”

Brad was deployed in December of 2009. Chalk hears from her son on average about every two weeks, which she says is relatively frequent. She says it’s helpful to remember that the military is a full-time job, and every soldier is very busy.

“Even if they say they don’t need anything, send it anyway. Even if you don’t hear back about them, they appreciate it,” Chalk said. “Whenever they call, don’t ask them tons of questions. Give them silly stories. Update them. That’s what they want to know: what we’re doing at home.”

Chalk says the most important thing is to make it personal.

“It’s good for them to know that people over here are not thinking of them as a mass, as a number, as something called the military – they’re thinking of them as individuals,” Chalk said.

To participate in Cup of Joe for a Joe, visit http://www.greenbeanscoffee.com.

Comments


I love this story, and this Mom!  I know how much Joy has meant to me, and to my son when he was wounded, and this story is very much on point with what has the most meaning to our troops - a personal touch - a reminder that we are thinking of THEM. 

Joy introduced me to this wonderful Cup of Joe for a Joe site, and I have found it to be a fantastic way to send a quick “I am thinking about you” cup of coffee to a soldier who just needs a smile.  This company is wonderful, and really does care about the troops they are serving.  When my son was seriously wounded, they sent words of comfort, and followed up with a care package to the hospital as well.  It was so touching to know they cared.

Thank You so much for this very warming story!  Happy Memorial Day to all of our Men and Women who serve, and their families and friends who love them!

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