Angels From Owego

By Alice Maggiore

May 10, 2012 Updated May 10, 2012 at 6:21 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) They're known as the Angels Over Iraq and Afghanistan. One Tioga County teenager spends her free time helping her friend collect donations to send to soldiers overseas. Kathryn Standinger is also one of 30 Student Community Service Award winners presented by Senator Thomas Libous, BOCES and WBNG-TV.

"Brianna [Cart] started it in 5th grade. She had the great idea to start sending packages to soldiers, so she got a bunch of us together and we've been working for a few years now, collecting items, raising awareness and sending packages overseas," says Kathryn Standinger, a senior at Candor High School.

"They're doing so much for us," says Brianna Cart, who started the program. "This is just something small that we can do in return for them."

But there is nothing small about the girls' efforts.

Since the program started, the girls have shipped 10 tons of comfort items to those who fight to preserve our comfort.

There are about 10 girls who meet twice a month in Maryanne Vanburger's basement.

They pack up boxes, filling them with candy, hygiene items, and a lot of Ramen noodles.

"A lot of pre-packaged food. Also, some entertainment stuff, books and magazines," says Kathryn.

They also use the meetings to plan for donation collections.

"We'll go to a store, hand out fliers, with things that we need and ask people to donate," she says.

Their biggest fundraiser is a yard sale in June.

"Everybody will spend the night here. It's like a big slumber party. They work 'til like 11 o'clock at night, sorting things, putting things out. They get up early the next morning," says Maryanne Vanburger, the Guardian of Angels Over Iraq and Afghanistan.

Vanburger says the biggest thing she has to worry about as their supervisor is their giggles.

"They have a lot of fun doing good," she says.

"It's really nice to know that something you're doing can make someone's day," Kathryn says. "A lot of times they'll email Mrs. Vanburger and and Bri, and we'll get to see their responses."

"There's one group from Washington State, who are in Afghanistan. They find it hard to believe that some group of girls in Owego, New York would care enough to not just send one package, but to... They say that except for their families, the angels have been the most supportive of anyone," says Vanburger.

All of the winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship to go toward a college or a university in New York State.

Kathryn will put her scholarship toward Keuka College, where she will major in Occupational Therapy.

To learn more about all of the student winners,
visit Senator Tom Libous' website.

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