A Military mom’s simple creation has become a way to support and raise money for all American troops overseas.
Elsa Zarate was looking for a way to feel physically connected with her son who was deployed overseas with the Marines when she created something that changed her entire life.
She took pieces cut from her son’s boot camp uniform and patched them together to make up a wristband-style bracelet. When she began to wear her creation out, the feedback from others who loved the idea came pouring in.
After so many requests for sim-iliar bracelets, Zarate decided to start a company called Bands4Courage. “I started brainstorming and realized, ‘What better way to honor the uniform as well as the men and women who wear it?'”
Zarate takes pieces of donated uniforms to create handmade bracelets that she sells for around $10 each. 50 percent of sales from each bracelet goes back to organizations that support service members and their families. There are many different designs that feature military patches, buttons, and leather accents. Zarate gives five free bracelets to anyone who donates a military uniform to be used for creating the jewelry.
“With everything going on in the world, it’s so easy to get a used uniform these days,” she said to Today. “If I can get them off the street and do something honorable with them, it’s worth its purpose.”
The mom, who says she could barely sew when she began the cause four years ago, says the main goal of the project is to keep the feeling of being close with your loved one even when they are hundreds of miles away. She says one of the best parts about creating the bracelets is hearing the stories behind the uniforms used and how they connect with those who purchase the bracelets.
“The whole mission is to give back and to help out. It’s to create a connection between military members and the people who will honor their sacrifices,” Zarate said.
If you would like to purchase one of Zarate’s creations, visit her website, Bands4Courage.