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Washington Co. group collecting items, cards for troops

Lynn Jones, of the South Washington County Military Support Group, gears up for drive

September 29, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Lynn Jones of the South Washington County Military Support Group is pictured in this 2008 file photo. Jones said the organization is gearing up for its 2011 Holiday Card Drive. The group collects cards and other items and ships them to troops overseas.
Herald-Mail file photo

A Washington County military support group is trying to make things a little brighter this holiday season for U.S. troops serving in the Middle East.

Lynn Jones, group leader of the South Washington County Military Support Group, said the organization is gearing up for its 2011 Holiday Card Drive.

The annual event asks the public to contribute cards and personal items to send to U.S. service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We try to make it a community thing," Jones said. "This has touched my heart, and I hope it touches their hearts, too."

Jones said the collection will be held from Oct. 1 to Nov. 20. Volunteers then will box the items and send them to the troops.

The cards, which could be read by a number of troops, can be bought or homemade, Jones said. Envelopes aren't needed because the cards will be mailed in bulk.

She said the support group started the card drive in 2003, when her children, who were serving overseas, told her that many of the troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan didn't get cards or letters from home during the holidays.

"We thought as a group, that was unacceptable," Jones said.

 She said she estimated that the group has sent close to a million cards since the program started.

The group also is seeking donations to help pay the postage, Jones said. The mailing cost last year was $8,732.50.

She said the support group is made up of about eight families, but volunteers and residents from the Martinsburg (W.Va.) VA Medical Center help pack the items for shipment.

Allowable items include:

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  • Food: Snack crackers in packs, Tootsie Pops/Blow Pops, candy (except chocolate in summer months), instant coffee, tea bags, drink mixes for water, granola/snack bars, gum, bagged snack mixes, beef jerky (very popular), individually packed snack bags and Ramen noodle soups.
  • Personal: Toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, shampoo (small bottles), body wash, aspirin products, cold-flu tablets (over the counter), lip balm and sunscreen.
  • Other: Puzzle books, playing cards, small squirt guns, small Nerf balls, disposable cameras, batteries (AA, AAA and  D), new CDs and DVDs, writing paper, pens, envelopes, bandanas, hand-held games and non-aerosol insect spray. No flammables, glass or aerosols.

How to help

Send cards and items to the following address:

South Washington County Military Support Group

C/O Lynn Jones

P.O. Box 223

Keedysville, MD 21756

To learn more, call Lynn Jones at 301-432-4979, or email lalollie2278@verizon.net.

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