CHICAGO (CBS) — American soldiers serving in Iraq have sent an early thank you to Loyola University students who have been using their leftover meal money to buy care packages for the troops.

“We haven’t received them yet, but we are waiting for them with bated breath,” said Lt. Col. David Bowlus, chaplain of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq.

Bowlus said troops are anxious to receive the more than 1,250 care packages being donated by Loyola students, using some of their unspent meal money.

The $20 care packages include items such as sunglasses, handwipes, sunscreen, earplugs, and cotton swabs.

Bowlus said, besides MREs (meals ready to eat), a cot, and a tent over their heads, troops in Iraq don’t get much. That’s why the Loyola students’ gesture goes a long way 15 years into the War on Terror.

“Some Americans, I guess, would you’d say maybe [have] compassion fatigue, or care package fatigue. Americans continuing to do this for us means a whole lot,” he said. “It’s just a very selfless thing that they’re doing to give of their own resources to support the soldiers.”

Bowlus said he also thinks it’s special that college students, who are the same ages as the soldiers, are supporting their own generation.