Lakota 6th-grader organizes snack drive for overseas troops, including his father

Lakota sixth-grader Trevor Earnest’s father is stationed with other military troops in Afghanistan, and he sent word back home to the U.S. that they were craving some snack foods.

Earnest, who attends Independence Elementary in Liberty Twp., wanted to help. He and his mother came up with the idea of snack food drive at the school.

Thirty big boxes of snacks later, his father U.S. Air Force surgeon Lt Col. Ryan Earnest, and his fellow soldiers had plenty to chow down on, all stuffed into festive Christmas stockings.

“We talked about doing something to help,” said his mother Rachel Earnest.

“Ryan had mentioned the base BX (base exchange) was closing down” and tasty snacks were in short supply,” said Earnest.

“Instead of must sending food supplies for Christmas to my husband, we decided to send them to everyone,” she said, and so “Operation Overseas: Treats for Troops” was launched with staffers at Independence helping with donations and collection.

Independence School Counselor Kelly Carstens lent a hand and marveled at the 12-year-old Trevor’s passion for organizing the project.

“This was a self-initiated project. He (Trevor) is very close to his family and very dedicated to helping others,” said Carstens.

The Clermont County-based Yellow Ribbon Support group supplied the Christmas stockings and paid for shipping the 30 boxes of snacks to Afghanistan.

Trevor said the project needed to be done because it not only gave his father and fellow Air Force personnel some holiday goodies but also reminded those living here of the important work being done by U.S. military overseas.

“I was surprised how many people didn’t know we still had troops in Afghanistan, so that is part of the reason why I started this donation thing.”

“We asked my Dad to ask everyone what they wanted so we could make a list … so we could send it over,” he said in video posted on the Lakota website. “So we created fliers and set it (collections) up.”

“If they (troops) got everything from just the government and never from people at home they might think everybody has forgotten them,” he said.

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