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Schools collect items for troop Christmas gifts

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POSTED October 7, 2013 1:07 a.m.

Since 2008, Manteca Unified School District has been in partnership with Lodi Support Our Troops in their annual Holiday Cheer Box Drive.

Manteca Educators’ Association is asking generous individuals to make their donations to this cause by Friday, Oct. 11, “so the soldiers can receive them in time for the holidays,” said MEA president Ken Johnson.

“We are asking students to donate an item for an American service man or woman,” Johnson said.

He is asking students’ parents to drop off their donations with their child’s classroom teacher or in the school office.

“Any donation will be greatly appreciated,” he said. However, he is asking prospective donors to “keep items small.

“Travel or sample sizes are preferred so the boxes can be filled with a variety of items, but that is not a requirement.”

The list of the different items recommended include aspirin/Tylenol, Blistex/Chap Stick; hand and body lotion, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, liquid body soap, shampoo and conditioner, boot liners and insoles, disposable razors, mouthwash, laundry soap, comics and joke books, shaving cream, beef jerky, books, games, Q-tips, Trail Mix, Cards and letters, nail clippers, cookies and wood powder.

Johnson said the soldiers who receive these care packages are so grateful, and many of them let their feelings known via letters sent to the donors.

“The letters we receive back from the soldiers are heartwarming, and I share many with my students,” he said.

Last year alone, the cooperative effort between Manteca Unified and Lodi Support Our Troops shipped more than 2,000 boxes “to our heroes in the Middle East during the holidays.”

Those who have a loved one or a friend, or who know someone who is serving their country in far-flung areas around the world are asked to provide their names to the Manteca Educators’ Association. Send these to Kjohnson@musd.net.

Additional information about the Lodi Support Our Troops can be obtained by visiting www.lodisupportourtroops.com.

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