American Legion gathers Christmas gifts for troopsChristmas boxes are being gathered in an effort to send presents to Company B, 1-128th Infantry soldiers who are deployed in Iraq.
Christmas boxes are being gathered in an effort to send presents to Company B, 1-128th Infantry soldiers who are deployed in Iraq.
During the first mobilization of the New Richmond unit four years ago, the American Legion Post #80 helped coordinate “Operation Sandbox Santa” to accomplish a similar goal. Back then, civic organizations, school groups, 4-H clubs, churches and more pitched in by collecting gift items and donating cash for postage.
More than 150 local soldiers will again be overseas for the coming holiday season, so the American Legion has launched “Operation Sandbox Santa II.” The unit, which was deployed earlier this year, is scheduled to return home sometime early in 2010.
“This is an opportunity to show the troops that our community supports their efforts,” said Chuck Mehls, one of the program coordinators.
Schools, clubs, churches and other organizations are being contacted to enlist their help for the project, Mehls said.
A family or individual wishing to provide a gift box, or a partially filled box, can contact a committee member to have a check-list delivered to them.
The following items are typical of the soldiers’ needs overseas: a personal card or note from you; toothbrush; dental floss; moist towels; foot powder; books; magazines; Q-tips or cotton balls; eye drops; packaged soft drink powder; storage bags; Tylenol or Motrin or aspirin; “AA” batteries; shaving gel; shampoo; lip balms; body powder; hard candy; beef snacks; Kleenex packs; disposable cameras; deodorant; gum.
Drop-off locations include Bernard’s Chrysler, Dodge & Jeep, 510 Deere Drive; New Richmond Civic Center, 156 E. First St.; St. Croix Harley, 2060 Highway 65; New Richmond High School; New Richmond elementary schools; and St. Mary’s School, 257 S. Washington St.
Priority mailing boxes will be placed at the drop-off locations through October. Priority mailing boxes can also be obtained at the Post Office.
Once the items are collected, do not seal the mailing packages. Post 80 will be adding a couple items to each box, which will then be sealed along with a required federal customs form. The boxes will then be mailed by American Legion officials.
Contact any of the committee members if you have questions or would like to donate toward the cost of postage: Chuck Mehls, 246-2634; Jim Lauck, 246-3158; Jim Helman, 248-7126; and Bob Willert, 268-4525.
“Remember that this is an area-wide operation,” Mehls said. “B Company has members throughout St. Croix County, as well as parts of Polk and Dunn County.”