Students send gifts to GIs abroad

Every month has a Veterans Day for soldiers stationed overseas, thanks to the generosity of volunteers for a national non-profit and students from Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister.

Volunteers with Operation Interdependence prepare care packages that include cards, snacks, toiletries, candy and handwritten letters from kids, which are sent to GIs every month.

The organization reports that 200-250 large boxes containing the care packages are shipped overseas to combat zones and military bases.

Gilroy volunteer Susan Mister said, “Gilroy has been able to ship 20 boxes monthly, with 25 quart-size bags in each box.”

The small team of volunteers meets every week for packaging and letter writing, she said.

Gilroy has been the second-biggest contributor to the organization for the past five year, led by students at Christopher High School. The students collect products for the packages and have written more than 1,000 letter, Mister said.

Gilroy real estate manager Mark Sanchez provides office space every week for about a dozen volunteers for the project, she said.

St. Catherine’s School in Morgan Hill has provided letters, and the Hollister 4-H has donated products and money.

The Memorial Day car show at Christmas Hill Park is a local fundraiser as well.

Mister said that while the group does not know the details of the soldiers who receive the packages, “a lot of our boxes have gone to Kandahar in Afghanistan.”

“Each of our letters is handwritten and speaks to gratefulness for their service and sacrifice and talks about things happening here at home,” said Mister. “The students will write about sports, music, art, their siblings, girlfriends, boyfriends—it’s all uplifting.”

“Thank you all so much for the caring words, the cards and the gifts you all

sent in the packages,” said Karon Carley, president of Operation Interdependence. “Each card is read by a sailor, soldier, marine or airman. I can speak for them when I say that your words of encouragement bolster our spirit as we complete our daily missions.”

For more information, visit www.oidelivers.org

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