WALKER, Mich. — The American Legion in Walker is already working on collecting items for Christmas.
It’s trying to send goodie bags to troops overseas and could really use your help in filling them and shipping them out.
The mission is simple: collect items for troops overseas and ship them out for the holidays.
American Legion Post 1111 is starting months in advance working alongside VFW Post 702. Last year it did the same, but because it was a last-minute idea, the post only collected 50.
“And the soldier that we sent them to was like, ‘I’m challenging you guys next year to send 1,111,” said Post Commander Jena Wilmers.
The legion accepted the challenge, and Wilmers hopes the community steps up to help.
The goodie bags will once again be sent to troops stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
“And it just gives them that peace and calmness, you know, not having your loved ones with you at all times; it gives them that sense of relaxation that you just don’t get while you’re there,” said Wilmers.
The legion has already collected hundreds of items. Whatever it cannot ship overseas will be donated to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.
It’s looking for things like ramen noodles, pens and paper, post cards, and hard candy. The wish list also includes flashlights and batteries, chapstick, playing cards and crayons.
“That’s part of the reason we’re sending crayons because crayons relieve stress with the adult coloring books and stuff, so they do that in their time off; the hard candy, obviously because they can’t get it over there, so we send that to them, which is kind of nice,” said Wilmers.
It’s a little taste of home for the holidays because when you’re serving overseas, every bit helps. Even the smallest kind gesture is appreciated.
“You kind of get in a routine like Groundhog Day: you do the same thing over and over again, and it kinda just breaks up the monotonous [sic] of things, and, you know, it allows them to relax and not always having [sic] to be on point,” said Wilmers.
The items will be collected until they’re shipped out in November.
If you’d like to give, you can donate cash or buy the items yourself and then drop them off at these sites around Walker:
Sobie Meats - 3450 Remembrance Rd NW, Walker, MI 49534
Blain’s Farm & Fleet ~ (Standale & Holland Locations) - 145 Wilson Ave NW, Walker, MI 49534
Kelly’s Animal Clinic - 4011 Remembrance Rd, Walker, MI 49534
Leonard Gardens - 4524 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534