Our mission is to send American deployed military troops the necessities and comforts of home. We focus on troops without family support and those who do not have access to amenities. We strive to give our troops the support and supplies they need while creating a lifeline to them from the United States.
The heart and driving force of Jacob’s Light Foundation is Dorine Kenney of Middle Island on Long Island, New York, who began the organization in honor of her beloved son, SPC. Jacob Fletcher. Jacob joined the Army at age 27 after being profoundly impacted by the attacks on September 11, 2001. He proudly fulfilled his lifelong calling of serving his country.
Jacob became a paratrooper and was stationed in Vicenza, Italy. He was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and was one of 1,000 paratroopers to make the historic jump into Iraq on March 26, 2003. After they jumped into Northern Iraq, the 173rd went to Kirkuk. He and his fellow troops patrolled, trained Iraqi police officers and went on many dangerous missions. Jacob died on November 14, 2003, after a roadside bomb exploded the bus he was traveling in on November 13, 2003, on Highway 1 in Samarra, 11 days short of his 29th birthday.
While Jacob was stationed in Iraq, Dorine sent her son a box of goodies every week. Embodying a caring heart, Jacob asked Dorine to send one of his buddies letters and a care package as his friend hadn’t received any from home. Jacob often asked Dorine to send specific items for other soldiers stationed in Iraq with him, and she was more than happy to do so.
For Jacob’s 29th birthday, eleven days after his death, Dorine sent the first box of what was to become the legacy of Jacob’s Light Foundation. Dorine continued her mission to comfort and support the selfless, brave American heroes in her son’s honor and loving memory and eventually founded Jacob’s Light Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. From a mother’s love for her son, this incredible organization has sent many pounds of items and letters to support Jacob’s military brothers and sisters who are stationed overseas, fighting bravely for our country.
Others have joined Dorine in her dedication to our troops, and on the last Tuesday evening of each month, dozens of volunteers come together in a tremendous warehouse in Ronkonkoma, New York. A large American Flag hangs down from the high ceiling and a poster-sized photograph of Jacob graces the wall inspiring the volunteers as they pack about 275 individual boxes, each containing 30 to 40 pounds of supplies, to be sent to our troops the following morning. Items to be packed line the walls, and volunteers move in a sort of organized chaos as they carefully pack each care package. According to Dorine, troops have told her that each box can reach up to ten service members. That means Jacob’s Light Foundation impacts thousands of soldiers each and every month.
The packages packed and sent by Jacob’s Light Foundation first go to the troops who do not receive mail from home. The organization cares for soldiers whose families cannot afford to send boxes to their loved ones. Packages are also sent to soldiers stationed in forward operating bases in the remotest war zones that do not have access to basic amenities such as toothpaste and deodorant. Special requests are often received from troops in these locations.