Amy Paden is the passionate founder and president of Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting deployed service members. Amy's journey began in the mid-2000s when she started sending care packages to troops stationed overseas. Through word of mouth and sharing her vision with friends, family, and co-workers, the movement began to take shape.
Amy's dedication to her cause was evident when she addressed 15-20 business-people at Salina AMBUCS with the Breakfast Bandits in October 2007. Little did she know that this would be the start of countless presentations to various groups over the years. Today, she looks back with immense pride at how Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America has grown, thanks to the support and efforts of numerous individuals from diverse backgrounds, united in their commitment to making a difference.
The organization's impact reached national recognition when Hearts of America, Inc. was featured on the premiere episode of "Great American Heroes with Trace Adkins" in 2012. The show, aired in Salina, showcased three nonprofits, including Steve Kmetz with Salina Rescue Mission and Heidi Feyerherm with Love, Chloe Foundation. The three organizations, including Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America, continue to collaborate and support each other's endeavors.
Throughout its journey, the organization decided to expand its name to Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America, Inc., providing a clear reflection of its core mission. For 17 years and counting, they have been steadfastly sending care packages to U.S.A. deployed service members. Recently, their contributions have included providing blankets for wounded soldiers on the front lines during transport to supplying new clothing items and basic school supplies to local children, fulfilling soldiers' requests for humanitarian purposes.
Though some may think that the need has diminished since the wars' end, Amy emphasizes that service members are deployed year-round, 24/7, across the globe. To further their reach, Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America, Inc. has now established three chapters in Kansas, Georgia, and Ohio, all with the same noble goal of supporting the deployed.
One notable aspect of their services is that families residing with these chapters can send a medium flat rate package, free of charge, to their deployed loved ones. The contents must adhere to the guidelines of the United States Postal Service.
Despite the challenges and shipping costs, Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America, Inc. perseveres through various annual fundraisers, such as the Show and Shine Car-Truck-Rat Rod and Rough Diamond event, held this year in conjunction with the Solomon Festival on July 15, 2023. Additionally, they organize the Wintery Craft and Antique Bazaar on December 1st and 2nd. These events not only raise funds but also foster community support and engagement.
Amy and her team are not only focused on the present but are also preparing for the future by enrolling in an endowment program through the Greater Salina Community Foundation. With a goal of raising $10,000, they are halfway there to ensure that families in Salina can continue sending care packages for years to come. During the annual Match Day event with the Greater Salina Community Foundation, the public is encouraged to support Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America, Inc. as donations are matched, amplifying their impact.
If you want to be a part of this noble cause, you can make a donation on their website, https://www.packagesforwarriors.org) or send a check or money order payable to: Packages for Warriors, 112 North Washington Street, Junction City, KS 66441.
Follow their inspiring journey and stay updated on their initiatives through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PackagesForWarriors.org.
Packages for Warriors-Hearts of America, Inc. remains a beacon of hope and comfort for the brave men and women serving our country overseas, proving that a simple act of kindness can make a world of difference. With your support, they can continue their mission of bringing a piece of home to those who selflessly serve our nation.