Military personnel send rations for Baer studentsHere's a...

DESERT STORM -- Notes from the home front

February 15, 1991

Military personnel send rations for Baer students

Here's a novel change from school cafeteria fare: Military rations warmed on a hot car engine.

Students at the William S. Baer School in West Baltimore are expected to get a taste of that treat today, courtesy of service personnel who mailed the military meal back from Saudi Arabia.

The school's students, who have multiple handicaps, have been sending gift packages that include candy, paper tissues and other items to 15 local service people in Saudi Arabia, said Shari Heune-Johnson, school principal. The students range widely in age, from elementary to secondary school students.

The idea of sending packages came from the handicapped ZTC students, who were interested in reaching out to others in need, said the principal. So, while patriotic music plays over the school loudspeaker, students go classroom to classroom to collect the items, which are packaged and shipped by a teacher.

Heune-Johnson said the military personnel have been touched by the packages and have written back to the students. Their responses even included a sample of the MREs, or "meals ready to eat," that soldiers sometimes heat on a hot vehicle engine, said Heune-Johnson.

And today, a staff member is planning to heat the sample on a car engine, then take it inside for students to taste.

Chicken a la V-8, anyone?

1-800-564-9991 FOR HELP

Families of Maryland troops in the Persian Gulf may call a new toll-free number for information about a variety of government-assistance programs for which they may be eligible.

Family members may dial 1-800-564-9991 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Gov. William Donald Schaefer announced (( yesterday.

To learn more about financial and counseling services, families may attend an Operation Maryland Shield Family Services Day sponsored by state agencies Feb. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Ruhl Armory in Towson.

Families suffering a major loss of income due to a member's military service may be eligible for food stamps and medical assistance.

Maj. Gen. James F. Fretterd, adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard, said 462 National Guard members and 1,200 military reservists from Maryland are serving in the war effort. Fretterd said he expects the number of guard members called into active duty to double in the next seven to 10 days.

Mark Bomster, Laura Lippman, Monica Norton and Marina Sarris contributed to this report.

If you know of an interesting story about how the war is affecting life on the home front, please call 332-6478.

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