Orchards makes huge donation to Legion

3,100 care packages helping soldiers

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Just in time for July 4, a large donation July 3 from the residents of the Orchards at Crabapple has helped push the American Legion Post 201’s care packages project to well over 3,100 boxes sent overseas.

Located on Crabapple Road, near Rucker Road, the 108-unit neighborhood is home to many widows and widowers, many of whom served in the military. Having such a connection to the military, donating to troops made a lot of sense.

“We spent about three weeks collecting items,” said Tom Siracusa, a resident. “We’re a very patriotic group.”

The group from the Orchards collected enough items to fill half a pick-up truck.

They have previously donated to the care package program.

Legionnaire Steve Olesnevich has headed up the collection and sending of care packages for the Legion for the past five years.

“We’ve had about 31,000 people donate items,” he said. “This has given us enough to send over 3,135 care packages overseas.”

The USPS boxes are filled with everything from knit hats to books and snacks for soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. Everything in the boxes is gathered from donations sent in by the community.

“I estimate we’ve helped about 4,100 soldiers over there,” Olesnevich said.

The Orchards communities are great givers, he said.

“They network with each other,” he said. “You get in touch with Orchards and you multiply your efforts quite a bit.”

The Legion, located on Wills Road in Alpharetta, has about 1,200 members and is easily recognized from the road thanks to its “Walk of Memories,” park, which features not only bricks for every Georgian killed in action since the Civil War, but also examples of war machines, including a tank, helicopter and artillery gun.

For more on the care package program or to donate, call 678-602-1457.