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Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 11:23 pm

SANTA’S HELPERS

Christmas stockings filled with goodies like travel-sized hot cocoa, instant soup and granola bars are now headed to troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries overseas, thanks to the Peoria-based Operation Santa — one of the nation’s largest stocking drives.

Volunteers from Illinois and other states create stockings year-round for Operation Santa and then join with other community organizations to collect tiny, non-perishable stocking stuffers [see “Support our troops,” April 1].

For the first time, volunteers from Springfield and Christian County teamed up to contribute 879 stockings to the fifth annual Operation Santa. The project collected and shipped a total of 42,400 stockings to deployed Armed Forces, as well as dog beds and treats to 57 dogs in two overseas K-9 units.

To get involved with Operation Santa 2010, create stockings out of Christmas fabric, or any fabric that’s bright and cheerful; save the fronts of holiday cards to use for notes of encouragement for troops; and start collecting stocking items.

Operation Santa is one initiative of Citizen Support for America’s Military. For more information on how to get involved, visit www.citizensam.org.
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