Matt Lanaro loves sci-fi, video games and Star Wars. His young sons Joe and Daniel, aged 7 and 8, have started to follow in their father’s footsteps. But like any game aficionado, at some point you graduate and move on to other games.

So what do you do with the games you’ve completed? One option is to sell them back to retailers like Game Stop to get credit toward future purchases. But Lanaro has found a different solution, an option that’s both charitable and patriotic.

He stumbled across a charity created by Catherine Taber a well known sci-fi actress and video game celebrity who voices a character in the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” series. Taber collects donations of video games and distributes them that fans donate to U.S. soldiers serving overseas. She does this via her website, Games For Soldiers.

It was a GOOD coincidence that Lanaro and his boys were already big fans.

“My boys love Star Wars, and I loved Star Wars as a kid. It was kind of a nice little ‘a-ha!’ moment when I saw that she was the voice actor for one of the major characters in the “Clone Wars animated series. She’s got a kind heart and she’s very patriotic. It’s phenomenal.”


Lanaro said it’s a perfect mesh for his game habit and doing something good. “I’m always playing something new and have games ready to pass on. I love my country, and I greatly admire our soldiers. I have friends who have been stationed overseas, and I’ve heard stories of hardship.  The drudgery of being on patrol, how hot it is and the dangers. I can empathize and I have the most profound respect for what they do. It seemed like the perfect match of being an avid gamer and having leftover games and to boost their morale, to take their mind off things. I feel a lot better knowing it’s going to help them rather than just getting back $10 if I resell it.”

Lanaro and his sons broadened their games-for-donation abilities by reaching out to friends, the boys’ Cub Scout Pack 22, and even strangers, via Wilton 411 on Facebook. Lanaro ships the games he collects once he amasses them, and recently sent his second shipment of games that he collected. In the first shipment he sent about 20 and this last time he sent not only 20 more but a brand new XBOX 360 Slim Console game system that someone donated–something for which he’s grateful. “It’s going to be really nice for the soldiers.”

Lanaro is hoping other Wilton residents who, like he and his sons, have ‘played through’ their games would consider making similar donations to Taber’s efforts via He knows it’s a great example to set to teach a worthy lesson to children, and it’s a GOOD thing to do.

“If you look at her website you can see the servicemen and women enjoying the things that I and other Americans are sending them. There are thank you letters, and it’s really something to see.”