Scott Raab reaches into a bin full of candy and grabs a bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans with a message of good will on the package printed in Arabic and Pashto. It's known as "candy diplomacy" and it reads, "A gift from the American people in hope that your country will one day enjoy the freedom and opportunities that we have in the United States." It's for troops deployed in Afghanistan to share with the local children if they choose. He adds the candy to a parcel full of other items including coffee, beef jerky, sunscreen, hand wipes, and powdered Gatorade - along with a personal message of gratitude. As outreach director with Move America Forward, a Sacramento-based military charity with a year-round care package program, Raab and other volunteers met their goal of sending out 1,000 Easter packs to U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. A Navy combat veteran, Raab remembers the impression it made on him to receive a care package when he was deployed in the Persian Gulf. "The feeling you get knowing there's a perfect stranger out there caring about you makes the biggest impact," he said. "You remember what it's like to be home."
For more information, go to moveamericaforward.org or call (916) 441-6197, ext. 314.