Soldier care packages tainted by recalled crackers

RALEIGH Christmas gifts of food, music and movies intended for the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, still haven't left Raleigh. They're held up, while a military mom carefully checks hundreds packages of crackers.

Support the Soldiers organizer Marge Goff says nearly 800 of the shoebox gift packages will eventually make it overseas. But right now, she's replacing crackers from the tainted peanut butter list with new safe packs, donated by Lance --a company that makes snack crackers not involved in the recall.

Goff says she hopes the company that made the recalled crackers will also offer her replacements for the care packages.

Now she is also stuffing the boxes with snacks like candy and applesauce, plus DVDs and playing cards. "This belongs to the soldiers, not to me," Goff said. "So I really expect somebody involved with these bad crackers to do a reimbursement, which I then can use to buy more DVDs!"

Goff says Support the Soldiers relies on donations from the public to buy and ship the gift packages overseas.

She wanted to send the boxes before Christmas, but the donations just weren't coming in. Goff says she then consulted her pastors.

"We just kept praying, we just kept praying and I told them one morning, I said, you know what? I don't know what's going on, I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I don't know what this is. I know God has a plan. He just hasn't clued me in on His plan yet," she said. "Well them, I found out about the peanut butter and so I was, ah."

Goff had two major setbacks, besides not enough donations, the hundreds of crackers she put in the packages were on the recall list for possible Salmonella poisoning.

"It really was disappointing, but the upside is if I'd gotten it all in on time, it'd been over there and I could have made a whole battalion of soldiers sick," Goff said.

If you would like to send donations to Goff, send a check to: Support the Soldiers: C/O Marge Goff P.O. Box 46142 Raleigh, NC 27620.

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