YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Several organizations in the Valley are collecting items this season to donate to troops overseas.
With family thousands of miles away, deployed military and their families suffer a special kind of separation over the holidays and organizations are trying to help by shipping packages from home.
“As an Air Force mom, I can tell you my heart aches on Thanksgiving, on Christmas, wondering where my son is and who he is having dinner with and is he cold and is he being taken care of,” said Karen Conklin, who is also the executive director of Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley.
Five American Red Cross chapters in Northeast Ohio are collecting items to give to service members, their families and veterans.
Major Scott Julian, U.S. Air Force, said toiletries are one of the big items military personnel need. Julian said it may seem like a little thing but a new razor and shaving cream were some of the things the troops wanted when he was overseas.
Conklin said paperback books, puzzles, DVDs, and entertainment items are also a big hit with active military and veterans.
The Red Cross is also collecting cards that can be sent to service members and their families over the holidays. Cards should be unsealed in envelopes and addressed with generic titles like “Dear Service Member, Veteran, or Military Family Member.”
Cards should contain no person information such as addresses, phone numbers or email addresses. Cards should not contain glitter, and envelopes should remain unsealed for screening.
The cards can be dropped off locally at the American Red Cross, 3530 Belmont Ave., Youngstown. Chapters cannot accept cards after November 30.
If you do plan to donate, the Red Cross is looking for the following items:
- Blank greeting cards (not sealed); with a forever postage stamp for service members to use for their own correspondence
- Combs/ brushes
- Deodorant (roll-on/spray)
- Disposable razors
- Hand lotion
- Shaving cream
- White socks
- Adult coloring books
- Colored pencils
- DVD movies
- Large print: Sudoku, word search, crossword books
- Low vision playing cards