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You can help support Vermont soldiers

VERGENNES - As the new year approaches, Vermont is saying good bye to many of our citizens who serve as members of the National Guard. Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) AmeriCorps members at Champlain Valley Agency on Aging (CVAA) and local seniors want to make sure soldiers will be able to have some comforts from home.

N2N members are kicking off "Operation Seniors Supporting Soldiers," a donation drive to collect items to put into care packages for our deployed National Guard troops. The donation drive is connected to the National Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr Day. In 1994, Congress issued a National Call of Service Day in King's legacy-asking volunteers to take action in their communities.

According to the USO's general list for items for care packages, soldiers would like Energy Bars, Chewy Bars, Hard Candy (No Chocolate), Instant Drink Mixes, Instant Soup Mixes, Microwave Popcorn, Mints, Board Games, Batteries of any size, CDs/DVDs/videogames (for any game console), Magazines (nothing inappropriate), unscented personal items (i.e.: shampoo, deodorant, and body wash), baby wipes, and tweezers.

During December and early January, donations will be accepted at these locations throughout Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties: Kinney Drugs on Shelburne Road, St. Albans Coop on Federal Street, St. Albans Free Library (starting in January), Pierson Library in Shelburne, Eagles Club in Vergennes, Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, the Alburgh Public Library, and St. Paul's Cathedral Church in Burlington.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18, Neighbor to Neighbor AmeriCorps members and seniors from Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties will meet at the Winooski Senior Center at 9am to assemble the care packages.

In addition to collecting donations, N2N has set up work sessions to sew "cool ties," which contain water-absorbing granules and are worn around the neck to provide all day cooling relief through evaporation. Sewing work sessions will be held at Care Partners in St. Albans, Senior Community Meal at Vergennes Eagles Club, and Senior Community Meal at the South Hero Congregational Church. For more details on days and times contact N2N at CVAA at 1-800-642-5119.

For more information on the Operation Seniors Supporting Soldiers project call 1-800-642-5119.

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