Operation Soldiers Christmas

Well, it is that time of year again. The “Operation Soldiers Christmas” 2011 promotion is about to launch into the Vance County and Henderson community. We have grown some since last year when we received such a wonderful response from the community for the “Palladin” group, located in Afghanistan. Last year we sent 102 boxes of items to those soldiers to create a mini mart called the “Palladin Room”, where active duty members of the group could go to get free items such as DVD’s, calling cards, toiletries, and candy or food. So here we are in 2011 and ready to go again. This year we will be taking donations at assorted drop sites throughout the community during the month of October, from the 3rd until the 24th. By the end of the month we will be packing and sending this year’s donations to the Heavy Combat Brigade located at Basrah Air Strip in Iraq.

We have a new website for the “Operation Soldiers Christmas”, www.operationsoldiers.org, where you can find a lot of information on what we need and what we are all about. There is a place for use of Pay Pal to make donations for postage and other items that we need to purchase. There is a slide show about past years promotions along with a history of where we came from. You will be able to contact us thru the website with suggestions and questions. This year’s group in Iraq are new to their stations and would like to develop recreation rooms for their off duty use. The group has only 11 members but they are split between two locations as to assist for the full base airstrip needs. So we are trying to acquire items for each location.

Some of the items are big ticket and we are hoping that local corporations will take the lead and help us fill those needs ( Play station units, Wii units, Xbox 360, and Kindle & Nook readers) but we still need many of the usual items we have always asked for in the past, such as cd’s, DVD’s, toiletries, socks-white only, Christmas stockings-empty so we can fill, Christmas decorations, candy, treats, microwave food, popcorn, men’s pocket t-shirts. We have only one lady in the group this year and she would like lady like items such as hair care products, hand lotion, and samples of perfume or cologne.

To raise funds for our postage needs we are having a raffle this year and you can see each item on the website as well as who donated the item. Purchasing tickets for raffle items will be explained on the website as well. Postage last year was more than $2000.00 and we would appreciate any assistance we can get towards this amount. If your group or organization needs me to answer questions please contact me at marimiller@live.com and I will work with you to get any information you are lacking.

We look forward to a busy donation time and would like to invite you to visit the website www.operationsoldiers.org to see the many sponsors we already have listed as assisting us. We have room to add any person or organization on the list, that sends financial aid to us. We want to encourage you to please send your patronage to these businesses as a thank you for what they are doing for our soldiers, so far away this holiday season.

On a final note I would personally like to thank the Vance County Community Schools for their generous help in getting the students from many of our local elementary and middle schools involved in our promotion this year. Students from the Eaton-Johnson Middle School are becoming pen pals to our soldiers while several of the elementary schools will be making ornaments to send to the soldiers for decorating their barracks for the holidays. It is heartwarming to see the outpouring of enthusiasm from our local young people for the soldiers, when too often we only hear of the bad they are capable of doing. Thank you to the schools system for all they are helping me with.

Please come out to donate to our soldiers, we’d like to thank the following businesses for providing drop off locations.  Please visit them to make your donation today!

Aycock Elementary School
Community Care Partners
Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce
Maria Parham Medical Center (reception area)
Prim Residential Rentals
Staples Fulfillment Distribution Center
The Daily Dispatch
Vance County School (superintendent office)

Thank you for any donations you can give us.

Marianne Miller

Operation Soldiers Christmas Coordinator