Shower of Gifts sets record results

By: Cam Grubic

The deadline for the annual Shower of Gifts, an event organized and run by donations of household items donated to military families across the state, was yesterday. The event was organized by senior Makayla Vaughn, niece of Army Specialist Travis Vaughn, and her grandma Kandie Vaughn.

Travis, a Cedar Falls native, graduate from the class of 1999 and soldier in the U.S. Army lost his life in February of 2007 at the age of 26. He was traveling in a Chinook helicopter over Afghanistan when the engine malfunctioned, and the aircraft went down. His family celebrates his life and legacy by providing for the men and women serving our country in this annual fundraiser.

Makayla took a large role in leading the fundraiser both in and out of school. She took a major lead in the planning and setting up of one of the biggest bake sales at Cedar Falls High School. She also gathered friends and family to help with the raffle, which was on Saturday, Feb. 13.

She has been helping with the process of the organization for over five years now, and her grandma Kandie has been working to support troops for eight years since the fundraiser started. Kandie works hard reaching out to local businesses and public figures to gain discounts, coupons, gift cards, etc. to sell off in the raffle and to put toward the overall fund for items donated. Items donated included personal hygiene items such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes. Items like socks, T-shirts or other clothing items for both men and women were also acceptable. A full list of eligible items was provided and could be found at kandieskidz.org or on their facebook page.

All donations were delivered by truck to Marshalltown, and were on display on a table on Feb. 18 for veterans to line up and gather what they needed. ”We’ve gained $1,000 more this year,” Makayla said.

Locations for donating objects could be found in the school library and counseling office. Makayla said she is proud of her role in the events leading up to the big day to celebrate the life of her uncle and his service to the country. As Makayla graduates this year, she plans to continue her efforts in supporting the troops with this event annually with the help of her grandma, Kandie.

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