Phoenix woman collects Hawaiian shirts for soldiers overseas

For the past few years, Phoenix resident Nancy Marts has been part of a very special mission.

"I am on a mission to collect Hawaiian shirts for our deployed soldiers," Marts said.

Every time she sees a Hawaiian shirt in a thrift shop or on sale, she buys it. She's even posted on her Nextdoor app so that her neighbors are in on it, too.

Marts has a box that permanently sits outside her Phoenix home for Hawaiian shirt donations.

"We send leis with them, we send candy," Marts said. "Anything that boosts their morale from here to there."

This is part of a bigger national movement where people across the country collect the shirts and send them to one woman on the East Coast, who then distributes them to soldiers serving overseas.

"Gwen Pollard started the mission with her son getting deployed to Afghanistan, and she packed in his dufflebag a Hawaiian shirt," Marts said. "She started sending them over for his troop, and then the next troop, and then the next troop…and over 26,000 shirts later, we have all these Hawaiian shirts over there that make them so happy."

Gwen Pollard holding a Hawaiian shirt

Gwen Pollard holding a Hawaiian shirt

Spreading a little bit of joy from home, one Hawaiian shirt at a time.

The woman who started the program says she hopes to keep it going until all American service members are back home.

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