Make a Difference: Francesca McCarthy

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Ask any graduate student what they need more of and they’ll tell you time. One Indiana State University student is spending all her free time bringing joy to the men and women serving our country.

Two years ago, Francesca McCarthy started Comics for Soldiers. She’s making a difference in Terre Haute and around the world.

That’s why she’s the recipient of the Make a Difference Aware for October.

McCarthy isn’t the one normally receiving the surprise. Instead she’s the one sending them out.

“I do like to think about what they do when they open the box,” said McCarthy.

“I hope they feel supported and appreciated. Whenever I write a letter or card for a box, I always make sure to say how appreciative I am and make sure to say it’s comic books, snacks and gratitude,” said McCarthy.

She sends boxes on boxes of comic books to soldiers overseas. What started as a package years ago has grown into an entire outreach called Comics for Soldiers.

“I remember when I thought a four box shipment was big. Now I’m taking 30 boxes every time,” said McCarthy.

That’ number is weekly. 300 comic books making their way to the soldiers’ hands and hearts.

“That’s what I hoped would happen. That word would spread all over the world really of what I was trying to do,” said McCarthy.

Comics for Soldiers was created in honor of her cousin Sergeant Matt McDowell.

He was killed in 2007 in Baghdad. He was a proud member of the Army, completing nearly 10 years of service.

McCarthy wonders what Matt would think of the impact she’s making.

“Wow that’s a tough question. I don’t know what he would say,” said McCarthy. “I think he would say thank you and keep it up. Keep sending out the boxes.”

Now a little piece of him lives on with each package. The men and women who receive the signature boxes send her pictures and letters. They say she makes deployment easier for them all.

“When I get those pictures it makes everything worthwhile that somebody across the world is contacting me and telling me they appreciate what I’m doing here just in Terre Haute,” said McCarthy.

Making a soldier’s day and making a difference in the world. Now that’s the life of a true superhero.

If you would like to write a letter or send in an address for someone overseas head to our website, you can contact Comics for Soldiers here: