Play Santa for a soldier with holiday supply drive for our troops

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PEORIA, Ariz. -- How would you like to play Santa Claus for our men and women serving overseas? It's as easy as picking up a few extra items next time you go to the grocery store.

The City of Peoria is teaming up with Peoria's Sunset Lion's Club Foundation to coordinate a "Christmas for the Troops" supply drive, running now through November 20.

The public is being asked for donations that will help fill care packages that will be sent to American troops overseas.

Rachelle Barrett, wife of Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett and chairperson of Christmas for the Troops with the Peoria Sunset Lions Club Foundation, says the they are in great need of certain supplies.

"They're asking for high-protein foods," she says. "Vienna sausages, jerky, little cans of tuna. Anything that they can carry in their knapsacks for a little quick energy."

Also in high demand? Clean white, black or tan socks. "They can go through three or four pairs of socks a day," Barrett says. "The military does not issue those."

Troops also need all types of toiletries. "Most Americans don't know that our deployed troops buy their own soap and shampoo, and toothbrushes and shaving cream. And if they bug out in a hurry all that stuff is left behind," says Barrett. Feminine hygiene products are also needed.

Other useful items include magazines, thermal underwear, trail mix, protein bars and other non-perishable foods. Troops also love to get books.

Here is a list of suggested items: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, toothpaste, tooth brushes, toilet paper, shaving cream, wash cloths, baby wipes, eye drops, lip balm, sunscreen, white tube socks, black or tan uniform socks, winter thermal underwear, protein bars, tuna cans, jerky, healthy snacks, candy, gum, books, magazines, game books, phone cards, detergent pods,  and wrap-around sun glasses.

Travel size items are preferred.

Last year the city sent out 340 boxes. This year, the hope is to send 400 boxes.

Monetary donations also help pay for shipping. 400 boxes at the flat military rate at $13.30 a box means more than $5,300 in postage alone.

People can also donate their time to pack some of the packages at the Challenger Learning Center in Peoria. Volunteers will be packing boxes on Nov. 24 and 25.

The collection sites are located at the Peoria Main Library and Peoria City Hall, 8401 W. Monroe St, Peoria Community Center, 8335 W. Jefferson St., Rio Vista Recreation Center, 8866 W. Thunderbird  Rd, Sunrise Mountain Library, 21109 N. 98th Ave. and all Peoria Fire stations.

For more information, call 623-773-7739 or visit