Many Canadian troops won’t be coming home for the holidays, but the upcoming festive season hopefully will be made brighter for them thanks to the Christmas care packages being assembled by the local Legion ladies’ auxiliary.
“[The troops] really appreciate it,” said auxiliary president Sylvia Gunderson, noting this is the third time they’ve been involved with the effort.
For those wanting to help out, the auxiliary is looking for items such as Chapstick, drink crystals, hard candy, Christmas cake, all-purpose wipes (must be non-alcoholic), Sudoku books, word find books, crossword books, pocket books, hot chocolate, playing cards, and “anything that [people] think that [troops] would care to have,” Gunderson cited.
“We just really fill them all up,” she explained, noting last year they were able to assemble roughly 30 packages, which then were sent to Eastern Ontario before being distributed to Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan and other places around the world.
Kraft Dinner also is a favourite, Gunderson added.
“When I talked to a fellow when I phoned down [east], and he had been over there and he said that, ‘Oh, Kraft Dinner, yeah they love it!’” she recounted.
“Legion magazines, that’s another thing,” she continued. “A lot of veterans get the Legion magazine and if they have any that don’t want, that’s another thing that somebody said that they really like to read.”
Basically, items should be anything that’s shippable, Gunderson said, noting items like chocolate bars would melt from the heat, and that toothbrushes and toothpaste already are taken care of.
Cash donations also are being accepted, she noted.
““It helps pay for the Christmas bags that we put [items] in, and we bought stuff that we were lacking, such as some more fruit cakes and books, and other items that might be handy for the troops to have,” Gunderson explained.
Donations can be dropped off at the local Legion up until Nov. 20, where they then will be assembled and sent off to be distributed.
Gunderson stressed the care packages are important because the troops are overseas, and “they’re away from home for Christmas and they’re helping other people and helping our country, and trying to keep our country safe.”
“Their lives are on the line, and we’ve lost a lot of boys,” she added. “And if we can help them in any way to say that we’re thinking of them, or caring for them, then it gives them a boost.
“And I have talked to the commanders down east, and they have appreciated everything we have done for them,” Gunderson added.