Covering Louisiana

Jan 25, 2012 9:42 AM by AP

SW La. woman hopes to send Mardi Gras to troops

HATHAWAY, La. (AP) - A soldier's wife in Hathaway is on a mission to send a little Mardi Gras to troops in the Middle East.
Sherri Arrington's goal is to gather enough Carnival novelties and other Louisiana souvenirs to decorate a dining hall for nearly a thousand troops at a military base in Kabul, Afghanistan, The American Press reported.
"This is mainly to give our soldiers who are homesick for a taste of home a chance to be part of Mardi Gras this year and for those who don't know what Mardi Gras is, a chance to experience it," she said.
She got the idea during the Christmas holidays, when Lt. Col. Michael Arrington had a two-week leave from Afghanistan, where he has been stationed since April.
"We just got to talking about Mardi Gras and how he was going to miss not being a part of it this year," she said. "That got us to thinking maybe we could send it over there."
She posted the idea on Facebook and things just went from there, she said.
"We've already gotten a lot of responses from people wanting to help," she said. "I never imagined this. I had just hoped for our little Hathaway community and Jennings to pull together and send a couple of boxes."
She has already received two boxes of Mardi Gras goodies to send to the troops. She's looking for more decorations, beads, trinkets, cups, masks, T-shirts and Cajun music - preferably with notes of gratitude, thank you and good wishes from the donors.
"Soldiers love to hear support from back home," she said.
She also hopes to get vacuum-sealed king cakes sent to the troops.
Donation boxes are located at Buch Printing in Jennings, Di's Classic Pies and Bakery in Hathaway and the American Red Cross of Southwest Louisiana in Lake Charles.
Arrington hopes to ship the items by the end the month so that they can arrive in time for Fat Tuesday.
Chefs on the base plan to serve a Cajun style menu on Fat Tuesday and a 5K run is being organized for the troops, she said.
"It's kind of turned into a big deal," Arrington said.

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