Suzanne Kalb remembers the exact moment she grasped the magnitude of last month's massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Participating in a packing party a couple of weeks ago in Rocky Hill for U.S. troops stationed abroad, she heard a gripping story from Andi Grant, founder and president of the nonprofit organization, Give2TheTroops.

"Andi was telling me about what's happening over there and how whole villages have been wiped out," she said. "They have nothing, and it just brought it home to me that we can help."

Kalb's response was immediate. Along with her son David, they mobilized the Staples High School Service League of Boys (SLOBs) community service group to organize a donation drive for victims of the disaster. The Kalbs founded SLOBs in 2008.

"It's massive devastation, and it's really important that we help," said David Kalb, a Staples junior. "We hope to help the people of Japan rebuild. They lost everything."

Items donated to the drive will go to Give2TheTroops. Service personnel who receive those items will then distribute them to disaster victims. Approximately 20,000 U.S. troops are mobilized in the humanitarian mission, "Operation Tomodachi," or "Friend."

Now in its third year, SLOBs has grown to approximately 120 members. While the group regularly organizes donation drives for local nonprofit groups, this new initiative marks its first effort for victims of a major disaster.

"I think it's one of the most important things we've done at SLOBs," David Kalb added.

The SLOBs donation drive will continue for several weeks. The following items can be donated to the drive: blankets (new or looking like new), face masks, work and mechanical gloves, insect repellent (no aerosol cans, just pump sprays), wash cloths, towels (new or looking like new), wet wipes and hand sanitizers, first-aid kits, Band-Aids, gauze, disposable medical gloves, medical tape, first-aid ointments, aspirin and Tylenol, shaving supplies (no aerosol cans, just soap or tubes), candy and gum, protein bars, Trail Mix, dried fruit snacks and Ramen noodles.

Donations to the drive can be deposited on the front porch of the Kalbs' home at 88 Compo Road South.