For the many soldiers who are unable to spend time with their families this holiday season, a package from home can be a godsend, even if it’s from a stranger.
For the ninth year in a row, the Operation Adopt a Soldier program in Saratoga County is asking for special holiday donations to help service members enjoy the comforts of home while stationed overseas.
“This time of the year, the community support is wonderful and everyone remembers our troops,” said organization Co-chairwoman Terri Perry. “It’s great.”
Perry and co-chairman Cliff Seguin Jr. formed two operations separately in 2003 when their sons were deployed. When one found out what the other was doing, they joined forces later that year.
“They’re both home now and out of the service we still have admiration for the troops and it’s an honor to just keep doing what we do,” said Perry. “It’s a priority that’s in our hearts.”
Although the project takes donations for care packages all year long, the amount of donations jumps dramatically during the holiday season. This year on a day in mid-November, 182 shoebox-sized care packages were donated by a local elementary school and ladies church group.
Besides care package essentials like toiletries, snacks, stationary and reading material, the group asks for special donations like holiday candy, decorations, cookies, hot cocoa and even fake Christmas trees.
“Really, anything to boost morale and let them know we appreciate them,” said Perry.
Each year the group sets aside $1,000 to buy as many Christmas trees as possible with all of the trimmings. Other trees are donated. They are then sent to a commanding officer to set up for a whole base to enjoy. The same goes for any Hanukkah decorations that are donated.
“Once in a while someone will donate Hanukkah stuff, but we don’t get a lot of it,” said Perry. “I think it would be nice to get more, since there’s probably a lot more Jewish soldiers out there than we think about.”