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: