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franklin county times

Care packages remind soldiers of hometowns

By Staff
PACKAGES FOR TROOPS Evelyn Sacks, left, armed forces emergency services volunteer with the American Red Cross, and Rita Grice, disaster coordinator for the American Red Cross in Scott County, sort through items Tuesday at the Red Cross' Key Chapter headquarters in Meridian. The items were donated for troops fighting in Iraq. To contribute items, to notify the Red Cross of someone who needs a package, or for more information, call the local Key Chapter at 485-5151. Photo by Steve Gillespie / The Meridian Star.
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
April 28, 2004
Theresa McKee misses her husband, Sam.
A supply sergeant in Company G of the 185th Aviation Group of the Mississippi Army National Guard, Sam McKee left Jan. 6 for an 18-month tour of duty in Iraq.
At home, Theresa and others who have loved ones fighting in the war meet one Saturday a month on what would be the normal drill weekend for the unit based in Meridian.
McKee, along with the chapter's executive director, Cheri Barry, have started a campaign to collect "quality of life" items for area residents serving in Iraq. The Key Chapter also is collecting donations for postage.
Among the items needed: powdered soft drinks, snack food, coffee and tea, personal toiletries, disposable cameras, prerecorded videos, board games and recent paperback books.
Barry currently has the names of nearly 400 men and women serving in Iraq who are from the immediate area. She wants residents to contact the Key Chapter and let her know where their loved ones are stationed to make sure they get a package.
Barry said she hopes to have items shipped out to the soldiers by Armed Forces Day on May 15.
Theresa McKee said the care packages are greatly appreciated.
What to donate:
Cheri Barry, executive director of the Key Chapter of the American Red Cross, said Georgia Pacific is donating two items commonly requested by soldiers in Iraq: toilet paper (more than 370 cases) and Handi Wipes (more than 1,200 cases).
Here are some of the other items Barry said people can donate in order to give soldiers a taste of home. For more information or to contribute items, call the Key Chapter at 485-5151
Hard candy, individually wrapped (none homemade).
Powdered sweetened drink mix, such as Gatorade and Kool-Aid.
Snack foods, such as canned cheese spread, packaged snack cakes, microwave popcorn and peanuts.
Canned food, including ham and tuna.
Coffee, sugar, creamer, tea bags, hot chocolate, hot cider
Toiletries, including shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower soap and gel all unscented
Sunscreen, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, face cleaning pads, lip balm (in a tin, not a stick), foot powder, feminine products, zippered plastic bags, nail clippers
Fly traps, fly swatters and flea collars (worn around their combat boots)
Batteries (assorted sizes), disposable cameras
Blank greeting cards (for all occasions)
Videos, DVDs, music CDs and cassettes (packed
separately)
Small board games (such as chess and checkers),
dominoes, jigsaw puzzles and playing cards
Recent paperback books (mainly mysteries, action, drama and science fiction)

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