Reach Out To Soldiers During The Holidays

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Alone or with other kids, you can send gifts of thanks and hope.


08:12 AM CST on Thursday, December 7, 2006
By MICHELE CHAN SANTOS
Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Think about a time when you had to be away from your parents. Maybe it was at summer camp or when you were visiting relatives.
Wasn't it great when you received a letter or box of cookies from your mom or dad?

"Mail call" is when men and women in the U.S. military receive a care package, gift, card or letter from someone.
Sometimes, this card or package is from that soldier's wife, husband, son or daughter.
Other times, the letters and packages are from Americans who have never met that soldier but who are grateful for the service soldiers do. ......

Here are ways you can help.
If a group of children pitch in a whole class, a Boy or Girl Scout troop that's even better.

Although the U.S. Postal deadline for sending holiday packages to soldiers overseas has passed, you can still spread cheer.
Letters and gifts are always appreciated anytime. Even items that don't arrive until after the New Year will be cherished. ......



SEND SOCKS, COOKIES AND MORE

Mail socks, painted pillowcases, packaged cookies, nuts or chocolate, letters or drawings to Operation Care Packages.

During the holiday season, Operation Care Packages will mail packages to more than 3,000 troops.
Every day, the organization gets new names of soldiers who would appreciate a care package, says Debbie Smothers, one of the group's founders.

Items received after tomorrow might not be delivered by Christmas.
But the troops appreciate any care packages, even ones delivered after the holidays.
You can help make their New Year brighter.

For Socks:
Buy pairs of white or black crew or tube socks.
Soldiers work hard and wear their boots for many hours, so their socks wear out quickly.
You can write a note and attach it to the socks and it will be included in the care package.

For Painted Pillowcases:
Use fabric paint to decorate your pillowcase. You can attach a card or letter.

Cookies And Other Treats:
Send packaged store-bought cookies (not homemade, because of security reasons), or packaged store-bought nuts, chocolate or candy.
All items must be in sealed packages or boxes.

Letters and drawings are also welcome.


Mail the items to:
OCP KIDS
611 Wilcox St.
Joliet, IL 60435


For more information:
www.operationcarepackages.org/OCPKidsReachOut.html


Michele Chan Santos is an Austin freelance writer.


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