Lonely days away from home, especially for active military, are something Tiffany and Isabella Papandrew hope to alleviate with Students for Soldiers letters from schools and children of all ages.
The foundation sends letters of appreciation to soldiers on active duty, according to Tiffany Papandrew, a Mantua resident along with her daughter Isabella. The latter’s cousin is the organization’s founder. First in Ocean City and Mantua, Students for Soldiers is now going area-wide to benefit all branches of the military.
The Papandrews are a military family themselves, with Tiffany’s husband an Army infantryman who served in Afghanistan. He left the army in 2019. The idea to have the foundation in Mantua came from Isabella, according to her mother.
“She goes to GCIT (Gloucester County Institute of Technology) for health sciences,” said Tiffany of her daughter. “She volunteers with GCIT’s Miracle League team for handicapped kids. She’s also in the Miss (Teen) New Jersey volunteer pageant in November. Bella made SFS (Students for Soldiers) for Ocean City.
“Being in a military family, it was what she wanted to do as her pageant foundation platform.”
Letters can be dropped off at 23 Colosseum Drive in Mantua. In Ocean City, they can be taken to Bob’s Grill on the boardwalk, a breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant that is Isabella’s sponsor for the November pageant and for another Miss Teen New Jersey contest in the shore town Saturday. There will be a box there for letters.
Students for Soldiers has yet to receive any responses from military members, but Tiffany predicts there will be some soon.