By Jessica Maddin

Total number of boxes shipped as of 7/24/10: 135 Boxes!

What is this about?
Jessica’s Hope Project is a pending 501 c 3 non-profit organization that focuses on sending fitness-oriented care packages overseas to all branches to the military in many different parts of the world. It started with a simple email to the CEO of 24 Hour Fitness. After receiving an unbelievable amount of donated goods from the company in less than 10 days I founded Jessica’s Hope Project.  I chose the name Jessica’s Hope because I felt it fit very well and it is one of my favorite paintings by Mark Ryden.

We are now trying to raise money to cover the shipping of care packages overseas to our deployed military. To date we have sent over 120+ boxes to our troops and raised over $2600. 24 Hour Fitness has also committed to sending JHP $1600 worth of products per month now as well as sponsoring our 501 c 3 application to become an official non profit charity. We hope to find other companies to donate once we get our tax deductible status.

The average deployed military individual loses 40 pounds of body weight per deployment (information from the United States Marine Corp). Our goal is to keep this from happening by providing protein bars, muscle milk and vitamin supplements to as many military individuals as possible to maintain their physical well being and mental sharpness. By doing so, we are increasing the odds of our military not only doing their physical and mental best as they fight for our country but also coming home to their families and loved ones in better shape than in the past wars when these products were not readily available.

Our military is currently deployed in numerous parts of the world but there is a high number of deployed in Afghanistan where currently it is over 118 degrees or above. They have limited access to water, laundry service, shower capabilities, or food other than MRE’S (made ready to eat) which were not designed to be the daily sole source of nutrition of 2000 calories each with no taste or texture. They are not a well thought of item for nutrition by our deployed. One unit had a goat around its camp and even the goat would not eat the MRE.

The challenge?
Now comes the challenge of raising money to cover the shipping costs. We need donations to help cover the postage of mailing these packages overseas to our troops. Each box costs $12.50 to ship. We purchase other small items to help fill up the care package such as drink mix-ins, playing cards, writing supplies, and hygiene items.

One last thing…
This project is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Andrew G. Phillips whom I recently lost this February. No, he was not a soldier, but he was someone very important to me and I will miss him forever. In addition, I also want to dedicate this to all of our fallen soldiers, know that you will never be forgotten. Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for your country.

A Better Place
There’s a place
I’ve never seen
beyond this world we know,
A place I’ve only heard of
but someday hope to go –
It’s not on any map,
there are no roads
to take me there,
But it’s a place of perfect peace
where hearts are free from care.
And though I understand
some may be saddened
when I leave,
One day, we all will meet again –
that’s what I believe…

When it’s time to travel there,
I think I’ll wear a smile,
I’ll say good-bye to those I love,
but only for a while,
Knowing there are others
who have traveled there alone,
Who cannot wait to greet me
and to whisper “welcome home.”

(I found this in a card and it really touched my heart)