Operation Support Launched

A newly-formed group called "Operation Support" was created to improve communication and cooperation between groups and individuals who want to help the troops. Organizers are encouraging all residents to get involved.

"When you're sitting at home you can make a difference," said volunteer Lou Pennebaker. "It doesn't matter how old you are. A child can make a difference. A grandparent can make a difference."

Organizers say this help can be anything from volunteering to answer phones, to mowing grass or providing a few hours of childcare for a military family.

On Apr. 12 starting at 9:00 a.m., Operation Support will assist the Red Cross in its effort to collect donations from the public to send to the troops.

Officials say some of the items needed include: baby wipes, sunscreen, toiletries, socks, stamps and sunglasses to name a few.

Anyone who wishes to pre-pack a box to send is asked to place the items in an unsealed box about 18 x 12 x 10 inches. Officials are also that the packages not weigh more than 45 pounds.

With actual shipping costs still a concern, Red Cross officials say monetary donations are also welcomed.

"I'm really shooting for between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds of gifts to our military which will run us close to $4,000," said Cheri Barry, executive director of the Key Chapter of the American Red Cross. "So, we definitely need donations."

Each Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Operation Support is also sponsoring a group support meeting for military families. The meeting will be held at Microtel across from Bonita Lakes Mall.

For more information on how you can help or get assistance through Operation Support you can call the group's HELPLINE at 527-8686.