BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A group focused on improving the physical and mental well-being of troops overseas is teaming up with 24-Hour Fitness clubs throughout California.
It’s collecting fitness-orientated care packages and bringing hope to service men and women.
It’s small items like protein bars, powder shakes and vitamins that can be easily dropped off at any 24-Hour fitness club in Bakersfield that can have a big impact on troops who are deployed.
Jessica Maddin is making sure military men and women have all the support they need protecting our country.
“Some of these guys go overseas and they don’t get any mail. They are kind of just forgotten and I couldn’t imagine being deployed 12 months and not getting a package from anyone,” she said.
Three years ago she founded Jessica’s Hope Project and with the help of 24-Hour Fitness is providing troops with healthier alternatives.
“I believe, we really are making a difference in their lives. Not only, for their physical well-being, but their mental well-being as well,” said Maddin.
At the Wasco Union High School, United States marine Juan Valencia is helping coach track and field.
Being deployed twice, Valencia often found himself in the middle of nowhere and says getting a care-package helped boost morale.
“It could make the worse of days into something positive. I know I’ve gone through a really bad Christmas and I’ve seen some sad things, but at the same time you get something in return for somebody thinking of you and it means everything,” said Valencia.
Leaders with the organization say military personnel can lose up to 50 pounds while deployed and the fitness-care-packages is critical in helping keep a soldier’s mind and body strong.
“It’s really the little things and just being able to provide those small gestures to them that sometimes we here take for granted that they don’t have that opportunity to get those things. Something as small as a pack of peanuts goes a long way and makes a difference in their lives and changes there mind set for that day and gets them through each day,” said Brian Newell, club manager for 24 Hour Fitness.
Jessica’s Hope Project has sent more than 1, 300 fitness-care packages to troops around the world and hundreds more are expected this year alone.
Naomi: “It’s amazing the turn out that we have and the amount of generosity that people have our troops overseas.”
There is a list of items at each 24-Hour fitness club location to help people with their donation. The organization plans for a big packing event on May 24th
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