BOURNE, Mass. – As the Holidays fast approach most Americans focus on the economy and how to make ends meet. Sixteen-year-old Dylan DeSilva isn’t like most Americans. The Brewster native is focusing his efforts on giving even more to others this season. DeSilva is “giving even more,” because he’s been giving for over four years.
When DeSilva was twelve years old, he started Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops. His goal that year was, with the help of his family and friends, to send a few care packages to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recently more than thirty volunteers gathered in Bourne’s Trowbridge Tavern to assemble those care packages. Mountains of purchased and donated goods lined the tables and walls of the Tavern’s function hall. Affectionately referring to themselves as “Dylan’s Army,” the volunteers happily worked to spread hope and cheer to America’s finest.
Each package containing a Christmas stocking, greeting cards, candy bags, toiletries and various snacks is being mailed to a selected service member. The care packages are sent to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who might not otherwise receive a package.
“We receive names from commanders, chaplains and individuals,” said Michelle DeSilva, Dylan’s mother. “We’re always adding more names to the list.”
The generosity of others was an enormous factor in the success of this years holiday drive. DeSilva raised over 11,000 dollars in donations to fund this season’s mailing. “The majority of donations come from individuals,” said DeSilva.
More than monetary donations are responsible for the success of the drive. Dedicated volunteers like Orleans’ resident Dave Gilmore are boxing up the donations and shipping them overseas. “I’ve been here helping Dylan for the past four years,” said Gilmore.
Mary Ellen McCarthy, owner of the Tavern, donates the lavish space used to put together the more than 500 packages being sent out this holiday season. Feeding the “Army” of volunteers is also graciously provided by McCarthy.
DeSilva, who works year-round for his charity, doesn’t let up when the fundraising is done. He’s not content with coming up with the idea or raising the money, DeSilva has his hand in every package mailed overseas, and has from the beginning.
“It started with one care package to a friend from my boy scout troop who had joined the Army,” said DeSilva, “I got the idea from there.”
Cape Cod Cares my have had modest beginnings, but has quickly grown in scale. In four years, DeSilva has shipped more than 4000 packages to service men and women.
With four thousand packages, and counting for Dylan DeSilva and his “Army,” he has accomplished a great deal for the military and plans to join the service in the future. For more information or to make donations visit http://www.capecod4thetroops.com/ or call (508) 896-6424.