St. Benedict’s Parish Helps Troops in Iraq

United States troops overseas in need of supplies will soon be receiving a heart-filled donation from St. Benedict parish.

The 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army from Fort Drum, New York is currently stationed in Iraq. The infantry recently returned to their base only to find their personal foot lockers missing. In these lockers troops kept supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, mouthwash, socks and other everyday essentials. St. Benedict has recently put together a fundraiser to raise as much money as they can to replace the troops’ supplies.

Cathy Praino, a parishioner of St. Benedict’s church, posted an urgent notice in the church’s weekly bulletin for those who attended Mass on Sunday, January 9. She urged members of the parish to make a small donation of one or two dollars so that supplies can be purchased and shipped to the troops. Praino has been working hard as a volunteer to help troops overseas since she lost her nephew, former FDNY Sergeant Chris Engeldrum, in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004.

“Ever since my nephew passed away, helping the troops is something I really enjoy doing,” Praino said. “I will do anything that I can for them until they come back home. So many people give and give and it’s wonderful. These troops need their supplies and we want to help them get it all back.”

Members of the parish hope to raise a good amount of money so that the parishioners can continuously shop for supplies that they will ship over to the troops as often as they can. St. Benedict School also helped the cause by having an optional “dress down day” for the students on Friday, January 14. The students who participated paid $1 each, with all of the money being put towards the 10th Mountain Division fundraiser.

The idea of this fundraiser was brought to St. Benedict’s in honor of Chris Engeldrum from Colleen McCarthy, who is a member of the Korony American Legion Post on Clarence Avenue. McCarthy, who also does a lot of volunteer work for troops overseas, does most of the shopping for the supplies with Cathy Praino. She said it’s the little donations like this that really make the troops happy.

“When we ship the supplies, it really means a lot to our troops,” McCarthy said. “These troops lost a lot of their daily needs and we felt it necessary to help give them back while they fight for our country.”

St. Benedict’s will continue to raise money so that supplies can be shipped to the U.S. soldiers. If anyone would like to help the troops, bring all contributions to the St. Benedict’s rectory on 2969 Otis Avenue between Logan and Edison avenues. Mark boxes or envelopes “Troops.”

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