Operation Santa Gearing UP
Citizen SAM's Operation Santa is at reindeer speed as the countdown to stuffing the 35,000 Christmas stockings and Hanukah bags begins. A press conference featuring Dan Grant, Director of Illinois' Department of Veteran Affairs, will take place on November 9th at 10:30 AM to kick off the official "stuffing" season.
This huge effort does not happen without your support. The touching stories that we hear warm our hearts as the scarves, helmet liners and neck warmers (and coolers!) will warm our soldiers this winter. One woman wrote about her 84 year old mother lovingly knitting a scarf that took her quite some time to complete. But she stayed at it as she remembers when she had a son in Vietnam. That scarf will be in a box going oversees by mid-November for someone's son or daughter. That is only one of many, many wonderful stories.
If you are close to Peoria, join the effort of getting everything packed and shipped. The times and places are on the website: www.operationsanta.info
Citizen SAM is in the process of organizing its many programs, such as Operation Santa, in a way that continues to ensure that the troops get what they need from us. We've added a few great volunteer Board members, Jim Kline, a medical doctor, Ron Ball, with the VA and Kent Rotherham, a CPA. Their skills and talents will help keep the momentum moving forward. We are blessed with so many awesome volunteers, including each of you.
Please keep sending in your volunteer hours! We are working on an easy way that you can just put them in on the website, but we aren't quite there yet. We will keep you informed.
People always ask what we do with donated items that we can't ship to the deployed troops, like 10 pairs of brand new tennis shoes. Well, these items go to a group of formerly homeless, disabled veterans. If they cannot use them, we encourage them to share with other veterans or formerly, or currently, homeless people. We also channel usable donations to an appropriate military family. Everything gets to a military related person. What we cannot provide, cash assistance, gets referred to local resources in the area that we received the call from.
We are critically short of funds for postage, but every day a little more arrives in the mail. We have faith that 35,000 soldiers will have what we can provide and will not stop asking (begging) for our troops.
What each of you have contributed is incredible. Your creations are a constant source of wonder and amazement, especially to those of us who have no hand/eye coordination! Thank you each.