What are SAMs?
SAM is an acronym for Stand Alone Marine. While it is true that no Marine is ever without family because when they graduate they are part of a huge family of brothers and sisters in arms, there are some Marines that graduate from Parris Island without any familiar faces or loved ones attending graduation.
What are SAM BAGS?
All of us board members are so very proud of our young men and women that undertook the challenge to become United States Marines and rightfully so. Therefore, much like our Marines who never leave a Marine behind, we let no Marine graduate from Parris Island without the well deserved recognition of their great accomplishment. We do this by making assembling a goodie bag for them to take with them as they leave Parris Island.
What are some of the items that make up the goodie bag?
The list is endless and only limited by your imagination, here are some items that past companies have put into their bags.
Fast Food Gift Cards
International Calling Cards
Handwritten Notes/Congrats Cards
Cards made by School Children
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Gift Bags to put everything in
What kind of “bags” are used?
Some companies have had some very talented seamstresses and they have made the bags themselves. Others have purchased the recyclable grocery bags. When purchasing those you can search the internet and look for a wholesaler that doesn’t require a minimum order of a couple of hundred and don’t pay more than a $1.00-$1.25 each for them. Some folks have stenciled those bags with an Eagle Globe and Anchor.
How many bags do we make?
We try to plan on at least 50 and some companies have done as many as 100. Leftovers either go to another company that may be short on some items or Jennifer (one of our moderators/DI Wife/Meet and Greet Hostess and all around great gal) makes periodic shipments to our Marines overseas with the rest.
Where do we put all the items in the bags?
The bags are usually assembled at the end of the Meet and Greet, assembly line style as many hands make light work.
What do I do if I am flying and don’t have room to carry my items on the plane?
The Meet and Greets are usually held at Gilligan’s Restaurant. One of our Moderators is a DI Wife and a Manager at Gilligan’s. You can ship the items to her attention and mark the box with your Company and Meet and Greet Date
How do we get the Bags to the SAMs?
The night before family day Jennifer will find out how many SAMS there are and where their bus will be picking them up. Usually she and 4 or 5 volunteers from your company will meet the bus and hand out the bags. Your Marine will have to return to his barracks area to retrieve his or her luggage. If there are others in your group, let them take your Marine to get their things and meet you back at the bus. Passing out those bags is a wonderful experience!
Tips for getting those SAM Bags filled to the brim
1. Its helpful for one or two people to step up and be the organizer(s). Post on your SAM thread that you are willing to do so. Then shoot a message to Jennifer telling her you are willing to handle the campaign!
2. The organizer should post the list of suggested items in your company SAM folder.
3. No one person should feel compelled to provide all of a particular item as that can get pricey with some of the high ticket items. For instance, if you are comfortable with purchasing 5 $5.00 McDonalds gift cards, post it. The organizer can then go back into the original list and add the name of the person and amount of the particular item they are donating. This way others can see what is still needed for those items.
4. The list is only a list of suggested items, expand it, have fun!
5. Don’t be afraid to ask local companies for donations. For instance, here in the Philly area, Herr’s Chips donated 380 small bags of assorted chips. Another Philly is Tasty Cakes, another company got those donated. Ask your dentist or orthodontist (especially those families that have 3 or 4 kids all who had braces!) to donate toothbrushes and travel size toothpaste. Also, maybe your employer may be willing to contribute.
6. Some companies or individuals make cash donations; discuss in your thread what you all should purchase with the cash donation.
7. Church groups are another great source to ask for donations.
8. Homemade treats are always great! I’ve seen fudge, home made jerky, cookies and candy contributed.
9. If someone is an elementary school teacher or you have a younger child, ask the class to make cards for the troops!! They love to do it.
10. Remember to post in your thread what you are contributing so the organizer can update the list. It is exciting to watch the list and see those bags get stuffed with loads of goodies.
11. Leftover gift cards are given to the USO. The USO then gives them to the Marines returning from overseas who live in the barracks. The USO makes their beds, leaves them a gift bag and a gift card. Gift cards tend to expire over time so we can’t keep them indefinitely, better they are used this way.
12. When purchasing calling cards see if you can get those that cover international calls so any extras can go to our Marines overseas.