BRILLIANT — Patriotism and presents are coming together at Buckeye North Elementary School, where pupils are collecting a few items for stockings to support soldiers overseas.
The annual Operation Christmas Stocking campaign through Boatsie’s Boxes Inc. is under way and pupils are being asked to provide personal items to let military personnel abroad know they are being thought of back home.
Boatsie’s Boxes Inc., which is based in Wheeling, has representatives in West Virginia and Ohio and supplies empty stockings to be filled with treats, toiletries and other items to make the troops’ holiday brighter, according to officials.
Principal Susan Nolan said the school has participated for the past 10 years and a collection will be conducted through mid-November, after which the filled stockings will be sent to the charity to ship to active Armed Forces members.
“The students love it,” she said. “They like recognizing the soldiers and people that are supporting our country.”
Nolan added 23 stockings will be filled at the school while another 15 will be done through the Alpha Delta Kappa educational sorority she leads. Among the items being collected are Christmas candy, chocolates, Slim Jims, jerky, trail mix, nuts, chewing gum, dried fruit, Lifesavers, healthy snacks, cookies, DVDs and CDs, wet wipes, travel dental kits, small cans of shaving cream, razors, lip balm, tissues, iTunes cards, batteries and crew socks. No liquids, large items or metallic items are being accepted.
Nolan said the stockings will be sent to the Wheeling organization by Nov. 11 for shipment prior to the holiday season.
This marks the 14th year for the Operation Christmas Stocking campaign, which has supported thousands of troops deployed around the world. Organization officials noted that more than 25,000 American troops are currently serving in South Korea with another 10,000 in Afghanistan, while 1,000 are stationed in Poland, more than 3,500 are in the United Arab Emirates and about 6,000 are located around Iraq and Syria, in addition to thousands more in Kuwait and Japan. Anyone wishing to help may donate checks payable to Boatsie’s Boxes Inc. and out-of-state groups and residents may send filled 16-to-19-inch stockings to Boatsie’s Boxes, 33 Forest Hills Drive, Wheeling, WV 26003. For information, call (304) 232-5277 or go online to www.boatsie.com.