“We’re a traveling show,” laughed Ed McClelland of Operation Creekside, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that ships care packages to our troops overseas. “If we’re not at Bill Brandt Ford, the Brentwood Café or Big B Lumber, then we’re parked somewhere else. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare, but we do it because we know our troops are out there every day working harder than we do.”
For nearly two years, Operation Creekside has been sending more than 100 care packages per month to troops stationed around the world, boxing up such non-perishable items as popcorn, almonds and a troop favorite – Pop Tarts.
“I’ve personally bought thousands of boxes of them,” said McClellan. “Everyone loves the Pop Tarts. We’ve also sent SpongeBob fruit snacks – lots of fun – as well as Cool Ties (bandana-like cold packs) along with whatever other items we can collect.”
But the project takes money – specifically postage. And at $12.95 per box, the tab comes out to roughly $1,300 monthly, making fundraising projects such as the hot tub raffle a necessity.
“We’re constantly marketing ourselves in different ways, and this is just one way we fundraise,” said McClelland, who auctioned off a similar hot tub in 2009. “I get the door shut in my face a lot, but I just keep going. Our troops need and appreciate the packages.”
To date, more than 2,200 boxes have been shipped abroad, and the group’s lists come from a variety of sources.
Over the next few weeks the Freedom Tub Tour will make stops at a variety of locales in Brentwood and Discovery Bay. Raffle tickets are available for $5 (or five for $20) at each of the spa stops. On Tuesday, July 12, the $5,000 hot tub will be raffled off at Bill Brandt Ford in Brentwood. Raffle participants needn’t be present to win.
Joining the Freedom Hot Tub tour is a Craftsman, roll-around tool chest valued at $400 and donated by Big B Lumberteria. Buy $20 worth of tickets for the hot tub drawing, and you’ll get a bonus ticket for the tool box drawing as well. The group is also raising postage money through sponsorships of the Operation Creekside trailer.
The Freedom Tub Tour will make an appearance at Ace Hardware in Brentwood on Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18; Sasville Properties in Discovery Bay on Friday, June 24; and the Discovery Bay Paddle for Fame event on Saturday, June 25. Additional stops include Dino’s Sandwich Shop in Brentwood on Friday, July 1; Brentwood’s Big B Lumber on Friday and Saturday, July 8 and 9; and Bill Brandt Ford on Tuesday, July12.
“This has been such a joy,” said McClellan. “We work for God and we want the troops to benefit. It’s such a needed ministry. It’s a real blessing.”
For additional information, tickets or to add a troop address to the mailing list, call 925-698-1422 or visit www.operationcreekside.org and click on Add Troops. Operation Creekside is located at 745 First St., next to Veterans Hall in Brentwood.