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Posted: March 14, 2009 11:59 p.m.

Teen organizes food drive for soldiers

Jennifer T. Long/

For the troops: Food drive organizer Anslee Schroeder, 17, shows some of the items requested by Operation Sandbox.

Since the Schroeder family opened the Curves on Crowell Road in Covington six years ago, they have held an annual food drive every March.

“Usually we just ask the ladies for gifts for our food banks and food pantries,” Anslee Schroeder, 17, said of the gym’s members.

But this  year, because her older brother Zachary, 20, will deploy with the National Guard’s 121st Light Infantry Division Company B at the end of this month, Anslee suggested to her mother Kim that the Covington Curves as well as the Conyers location on West Street collect for the soldiers as well.

The drive began March 1 and will last through the end of the month. So far members have brought in more than 800 pounds of items for local food banks as well as active duty troops.

“We have the most awesome members,” Kim said.

Kim said her children were always independent of each other growing up, but since Zachary joined the National Guard after graduating from Heritage High School in Rockdale County, he and Anslee-- now a senior at HHS-- have developed a close relationship.

“I respect soldiers and military personnel because it’s awesome what their doing,” Anslee said. “And, we’re really proud of Zachary.”

After Zachary graduated from basic training at Fort Benning in October 2007, Kim and Anslee became involved with Operation Sandbox—a locally founded organization that collects items for care packages to send to soldiers overseas. Kim is now the coordinator for the Family Readiness Group for Bravo Company, which brings military families together for special events and provides assistance for families when needed.

Kim and Anslee both said they worry about Zachary going so far away from home as part of a mortar unit, but they know that he has received excellent training.  

“It’s nerve-wracking, but I try to stay busy and have faith,” Kim said. “I trust in the Lord because that’s the only way I know how to do it.”

The Covington Curves is located at 55 Crowell Road, Suite N and the Conyers Curves is located at 1105-A West Avenue.

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