4th of July concept - wood backgrouns with american flag

Anthem-based nonprofit Youth for Troops has made 5,000 deployed troops smile this month by sending care packages to them. 

Youth for Troops works every day to support service members, veterans and their families through community service projects. Tonya Piatt and Renee Hoffa are considered the president and vice president, but, according to Piatt, it’s their kids who run the show. 

“When we get an invitation to an event or school, the kids vote on who’s going,” Piatt said. 

The children on the founding youth board are Hannah, Heather and Taylor Piatt and Sophie, Walter and Leo Hoffa. Considering they’re all friends and family, they are able to trust each other when hosting projects.

On April 12, Youth for Troops hosted an event where it prepared care packages to send to deployed troops and it marked 5,000 packages shipped this month. The event saw volunteers organizing and shipping boxes in person, as COVID-19 requirements began to ease up.

“We still haven’t seen a lot of our veteran friends for a year,” Hannah said. “Not seeing them was really sad. We’re really glad that we’re getting to see a lot of them again. We missed them so much and we missed all our volunteers.”

Earlier in the month, Youth for Troops celebrated its four-year anniversary by helping veterans and service members.

“We’re getting youth involved and we’re really getting out there,” Hannah said. “It’s really amazing to see how much we’ve grown in the last four years.”

Youth for Troops’ work goes beyond the care packages, however. They assemble mats for homeless veterans, organize events with local veterans groups and host holiday events for children of veterans in crisis.

In April, Youth for Troops completed more than 500 plastic mats for homeless veterans and accumulated over 22,000 volunteer hours from local youth.

“Whatever we can do to remind them of our gratitude and appreciation for their service is worth it,” Taylor said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that we can send a little comfort and love their way.”

For Anthem-area youth, Youth for Troops provides a sense of community, and allows these impressionable young minds to feel as if they are doing something important for the greater good.

“As a parent, you’re amazed and proud of the work that they do behind the scenes to provide these opportunities for everyone in the community,” Tonya said. “To get that amazing feeling, it comes from serving others. That’s a proud moment as a parent.”

Tonya added, “I believe that the future of America, as well as patriotism for our troops, is in the hands of our younger generations.”

Youth for Troops will host other events in April and through the summer. For information, visit youthfortroops.org.