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OperationInterdependence-Logo small The Progress Times has joined forces with the Mission Chamber of Commerce and Mission area businesses to boost Mission’s participation in the Operation Interdependence Campaign. The campaign aims to provide each of the nearly 325,000 deployed troops around the world with something from home every month to boost morale.

Local residents are encouraged to support the troops by donating goody bags (C-rats®) or monetary donations to be used for shipping costs to send these items overseas. Letters from children and youth groups are especially encouraged, as at least one letter or child’s drawing is needed for every goody bag. Boys and Girls Clubs, Scout troops, school groups, church groups and other organizations are invited to assist with the project with their letters or goody bags.

Jim Brunson, Progress Times publisher, said, “What better way to celebrate Independence Day than by showing our support of the men and women serving in the military to protect our nation and defend the freedoms we enjoy? I encourage every resident of Mission and our surrounding communities to join in this effort to give a little something back to those who serve our country every day. Show them that America cares.”

Drop off locations will be at all IBC Bank locations, all El Pato Mexican Food locations in Mission and La Joya, The University of Phoenix, Rene’s of Sharyland and Sharyland Plantation Visitor’s Center, in addition to the Progress Times and Mission Chamber of Commerce offices. Monetary donations can be made at any IBC Bank in the Mission-McAllen area, including IBC branches at local grocery stores. Checks should be made payable to Operation Interdependence and deposited in account #2511726513 at the bank. The Mission Chamber will also accept monetary donations.

The Mission drive is intended to complement the drive in McAllen by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, National Hispanic Professional Organization-RGV, KURV, UTPA and other businesses and organizations. Mission Chamber President/CEO Matt Ruszczak has participated in the drive in prior years and serves on the local board for the campaign. According to the NHPO, last year local residents and businesses sent over 2000 care packages to the troops.

Donations for the goody bags will be accepted at the Mission locations listed now through July 3. A packing party will be held July 11 at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce to prepare the bags for shipping. A second packing party will be held July 12 at the University of Phoenix in Mission.

What To Donate

Guidelines provided on the Operation Interdependence website specify that all items must be small enough to fit in a quart size (7 in. x 8 in.) zippered plastic baggie. Keep the baggies as flat and lightweight as possible. It is best to include only three or four items in each baggie. The most important part of the C-rat is the letter from a caring person back home.

Other goody bag or C-Rats® guidelines include:

  • Nothing illegal or pornographic will be shipped.
  • All items that go in the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or on an open wound (bandages, Neosporin, OTC pain relievers/medications, foods, gum, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, Chapstick, Q-tips, eye drops, etc.) must be safety sealed by the manufacturer. This is the only way to ensure they have not been tampered with.
  • Candy, gum, or foods of any kind that are twist wrapped cannot be shipped.
  • Toothpaste that is in a glued box from the manufacturer is acceptable.
  • Tea bags/coffee in sealed packages only.
  • The most important items we ship to the troops are letters from the American people. Enlist the help of your family, friends, club, group, local schools, scout troops, church groups, etc.
  • No last names, phone numbers or addresses from anyone under 18 years of age.

More guidelines are provided online at

“Remember, our troops are provided for so the C-rat is a treat,” the website states.

For more information, call the Progress Times at 585-4893 or the chamber at 585-2727. Also, get information by CLICKING HERE or at the Progress Times Facebook page. Visit the Operation Interdependence website at to learn more about the organization and how to support their efforts to help military personnel.

Operation Interdependence Drop-off Locations
  • Any IBC Bank location in Mission
  • Mission Chamber of Commerce – 202 W. Tom Landry
  • University of Phoenix – 4201 South Shary Rd, Suite 203A
  • Sharyland Plantation Visitor's Center
  • Renee's of Sharyland – 2600 E. Griffin Parkway
  • Progress Times – 1217 N. Conway Ave.
  • Any Mission area El Pato Mexican Food location:
    • El Pato Mexican Food – 819 Bryan Road, Mission
    • El Pato Mexican Food - 2430 E Griffin Pkwy, Mission
    • El Pato Mexican Food – 401 W Griffin Parkway, Mission
    • El Pato Mexican Food – 600 E Exp 83, La Joya

*For monetary donations, make checks payable to Operation Interdependence and deposit in account #2511726513 at any IBC Bank location.

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