Jackson County Troop Link is a group that reaches out to deployed troops by providing them with care packages from home while they are deployed in active combat zones. Each month, military moms and wives meet to pack boxes and mail packages to troops in order to let them know how much they are appreciated, loved, and missed back home.

According to Jackson County Troop Link coordinator Barb Strickland, Christmas Care Packages are extra special.

“Being away from their families, especially at Christmas time, is hard on everyone, but to be in the military and deployed overseas in a combat zone makes it even harder,” she said. “We want to fill these packages with lots of Christmas spirit and morale boosters.”

As with each monthly care package, Jackson County Troop Link is reaching out to their friends, as well as local churches, groups, and organizations, to help them fill the December care packages with extra Christmas cheer.

Due to heavy volumes of items being shipped for Christmas; the care packages need to be packed and mailed a week earlier than regular monthly packages.

“We want these items to be able to be delivered to our service members by Christmas,” Strickland said. “This means we need to get the boxes out earlier to avoid the additional volume of mail at this time of year.”

Strickland added that they want each package to contain the same items so at least 20 of each item is needed to be able to complete each package.

Items needed or suggested include: Christmas themed candies; WVU themed items, such as flags, banners, decals, T-shirts, and hats; homemade goodies of apple butter, jellies, salsa, candy, fudge, chocolates, cookies, jerky, beef sticks, and cheese; fleece blankets, pillowcases; Christmas hats; Christmas cards; coffee and mugs; boxes of chocolate; gift sets of shaving products and bath products; coffee (single bags); hot chocolate mix; microwave-ready meals; microwave popcorn; little Debbie cakes; Pringles; nuts; granola bars; energy and protein bars; and Slim Jim’s.

All donations are appreciated and must be received no later than Monday, Nov. 30, for the Christmas Care Packages. Donations can be dropped into the red Troop Link collection boxes at Ripley and Ravenswood libraries, or contact 304-532-7389 to make arrangements for donations to be picked up.

Anyone that would like to add a service member to the list to receive monthly care packages throughout their deployment, that is deployed in a combat zone, may also contact 304-532-7389 to do so.