Local volunteers with the Santa Ynez Valley nonprofit We Support the Troops on Friday rallied at the Veterans Hall in Solvang to assemble Christmas/holiday packages to be shipped to U.S. forces installed in Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
Approximately 187 packages were assembled and shipped that same day, according to volunteer Lindalee Baumgarten.
Supplies requested by troops deployed in remote areas are either largely unavailable or only available intermittently, explained Pat Sullivan, retired Air Force colonel and We Support the Troops president who, each year, spearheads the annual holiday effort.
"Our goal is to help our troops feel that everyone back home is sending them love and appreciation through our gifts," Sullivan said.
Items shipped were purchased with donations and included moisturizers, socks, lip balm, soaps, baby wipes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, candies and nuts, as well as books and DVDs.
Treats and toys made in the U.S. also were sent to working K-9 units that patrol every day alongside troops overseas.
Throughout the year, the 100% volunteer-based organization ships nearly 100 packages a month to forces deployed around the world.
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Lisa André covers local news and lifestyles for Santa Ynez Valley News.
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