SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - When the wife of a USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor appealed for help to send a few care packages, something remarkable happened.
"It's incredible. Overwhelming is the right word for it," said Rosalia West.
West’s husband Jacob serves aboard the San Diego-based USS Theodore Roosevelt, which deployed in December. The Navy Times report the aircraft carrier is in the South China Sea. It’s the ship's second deployment in a year.
"I got the sense morale was low. They had a tumultuous year," said West.
Last spring, a COVID-19 outbreak infected more than 1,200 sailors, killing one. Since then, the captain of the aircraft carrier was fired. There have been two more sailors lost with one man overboard and presumed dead. The other was a suicide. The ship returned home in July.
"They weren't home for very long, and then they had to deploy again. On top of that, even though they left in December, they’ve been away from their families quarantining since November," said West.
Worried about morale, West went on Facebook group in mid-December to ask for donations for a few care packages. The response she got was huge and immediate.
"Within 48 hours, I had donations on my doorstep ... cards and letters. I had Girl Scout troops sending boxes and filling them up," said West.
Her home is now looking like a warehouse. As she and others pack goodie bags, filled with snacks, sweets, personal hygiene products, Cup Noodles — a popular sailor request — and cards of appreciation, many from kids.
"They’re all going through a hard time together and they need to know that people on shore care about them, appreciate them and love them," said West.
So far, she’s already shipped out some 500 goodie bags. She hopes to send out hundreds more in the next few weeks.
"It filled my heart, filed my heart," said West.
Donations continue to pour in daily.
"It says, even though in society today, we might be in a dark place going through a pandemic, but the hearts of the people speak loud," said West.
West says the care packages should arrive in time for Valentine's Day.
If you're interested in helping the the care packages, click here.