Groups rally to grant soldiers' holiday wishes

Charity volunteers and firefighters hope to spread a little holiday cheer to thousands of soldiers deployed in combat zones overseas.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. — Nonprofit groups, including firefighters and national charities, are gearing up to fill the Christmas wishes of military men and women who are deployed overseas.
The Stony Hill Rural Fire Department plans to send care packages to troops, in honor of a member who is in Iraq this Christmas and another who returned from the war zone this year.

"With firsthand knowledge of the struggles of fighting the war on terror, firefighters at Stony Hill are doing what they can to a taste of home to troops in Iraq," firefighter Trey Walters said in a release.

Volunteer and paid firefighters will donate and collect items at the Stony Hill Station One, 7405 Stony Hill Road in Wake Forest. Donations will be accepted daily 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. through Monday, Dec. 15.

In its “Seasonal Sights, Sounds & Sweets” drive, Give2theTroops gathered DVDs, CDs, cards, decorations, candy and religious and inspiration items. The North Carolina branch will send out 800 gift boxes – each with enough items for at least a dozen service members.

The group is asking for monetary donations to help pay for shipping the boxes. In the past years, holiday shipping costs have run over $16,000.

The charity also takes donations of requested items to send to soldiers year-round.

Since 2002, Give2theTroops has sent out 70,000 care packages and 16 million cards to approximately 1 million soldiers in combat zones.

Monetary donations, handwritten cards and letters can be sent to:

Give2TheTroops, Inc.
ATTN: Barbara Whitehead, NC Branch Director
3109 Landmark St.

Greenville, NC 27834