WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Teenage brothers are making an impact on the lives of dozens of soldiers oversees. Not just on Veterans Day, but every day.
When CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge caught up with twins Matthew and Thomas Stueber recently they were packing boxes with supplies to send to soldiers in Afghanistan.
They had some extra time on their hands during the coronavirus pandemic and created the charity “Sacks for Soldiers.”
“I want to serve in the military and as I was researching what life on base is and recalling what my grandfather told me about his experiences in Vietnam, I know there aren’t many comfort goods that the soldiers have over there,” Matthew Stueber said.
The 16-year-olds are juniors at Chaminade High School in Mineola and brought the idea to their football coach, and it grew from there.
“It has really taken off. We just ran with it and help it grow. It is really awesome,” Thomas Stueber said.
As the brothers researched they found out charities often send necessary basics to soldiers, which is great, but they wanted to go beyond that and ship things like chips, chocolate bars, all kinds of snacks, and toiletries, Duddridge reported.
“Just fun stuff — Frisbees, footballs, Spikeball — we send all those game so they have something to do,” Matthew Stueber said.
They have a contact who is deployed to Afghanistan. They can’t say exactly where what they send is going for security reasons, but can say they’re helping at least 50 soldiers.
Part of their inspiration came from their grandfather, Lee LaRoche, who served in Vietnam.
“Simple things the boys are getting, especially like candy bars. They can give them to the kids in the towns. It means a lot. We could’ve done the same thing in Vietnam, but we didn’t have that then,” LaRoche said.
The Stuebers partnered with local clubs and churches and so far have been able to send nearly $10,000 worth of goods.
“The generosity and support of our community for our soldiers is just unparalleled. That’s what’s helped the boys make this such a successful project,” mother Sandy Stueber said.
“To see them take an interest in helping people overseas has really made me proud,” father Scott Stueber added.
The twins have 98 and 99 grade-point averages, respectively. Matthew Stueber has his sights set on the naval academy, while Thomas Stueber is looking at Notre Dame. They said they want Sacks for Soldiers to continue once they go to college.
So they’re working on creating a nonprofit to keep the charity growing after they graduate.
For more information about Sacks For Soldiers, CLICK HERE.
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