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Create care packages, enjoy food, drinks and music Sunday at Yacht Club

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

(Oct. 5, 2023) This Sunday, swing by the Ocean Pines Yacht Club between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and volunteer for a good cause, all while enjoying music from Cup o’Joe, good drinks and food, games and raffles.

The Ocean Pines-Get Involved Facebook group has partnered with Matt Ortt Companies and Steel Blu Vodka to create gift boxes for U.S. troops, and they are looking for volunteers to help.

It’s all part of a program sponsored by Steel Blu Vodka, a company that produces vodka in Delaware.

“The backbone of America is our Armed Forces and the sacrifices they have made for us to have the American Dream,” Ed Gent, a sales development representative for Steel Blu Vodka said about the effort. Ten percent of the company’s profits are donated to the military.

Volunteers will build 750 care packages on Saturday that will go directly to military troops.  All the materials will be provided to create the care packages.

“You’ll be able to add a little bit of your personality and extra love to each package with homemade cards,” Chelsey Chmelik, the beverage director for Matt Ortt Companies, said.

“We want everyone to come mingle, hang out and get the task done in a fun way.”

The gift boxes will be full of personal hygiene products, snacks, office supplies, stickers and handwritten notes. Chmelik also wants to include a local newspaper or newsletter from the Ocean Pines community so that service members who receive the package can learn a little bit about the people who sent it.

“We already have 80 people signed up to volunteer,” Esther Diller, an Ocean Pines part-time resident and organizer of the Ocean Pines-Get Involved page. She hopes to get 100 people to the event. “People want to do more than just write a check. That is what the Get Involved page is all about.”

When Diller started recruiting for the event, she was surprised by how many people in Ocean Pines are or had been in the military or had relatives who served.

Gent recently visited Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Md. He learned patients there in the wounded warriors section of the hospital also need basic supplies, so 250 care packages will go there.

“Steel Blu will also be working with “For the love of a Veteran.” They give aid and raise funds for deployed troops and homeless vets. We will send 250 care packages to them.

“We will be sending another 250 care packages to “Soldiers Angels,” another non-profit committed to providing support to our veterans and their families.”

Through the Ocean Pines-Get Involved Facebook page, “We want to keep asking people to get involved with philanthropy to help other people that need help. We live in a beautiful community. We need to pay things forward,” Diller said.

The Ocean Pines-Get Involved page will also be recruiting volunteers and donations for a food drive in November, a toy drive leading up to Christmas and a coat drive. People who are interested in joining the group, should visit

For more information on the Steel Blu Vodka care package event, contact Chmelik at

Additional donations and handwritten letters for U.S. troops can be mailed to American Heroes, 810 Ocean Parkway, Berlin, MD, 21811.