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La Salle-Peru Township High School freshman Brianne Hicks inserts her design sketch inside of her stocking to begin to design Christmas decorations on it for Project Santa. Mrs. Joellen’s Anderson’s art class at L-P is making the stockings for the Project Santa organization, which will mail 7,000-8,000 stuffed Christmas stockings to deployed military personnel next month.
NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
Project Santa wish list:
Gatorade/Crystal Light single servings for water bottles hot chocolate packets hot cider packets single-serve individually wrapped coffee packets individually-wrapped tea bags dry sugar/creamer packets single-serve instant oatmeal packets cup of soup packets Ramen noodles beef jerky/Slim Jims gum/candy/fun size candy bars Life Savers/Tic Tacs Snack-size peanuts, trail mix granola bars/protein bars/breakfast bars individual disposable razors chapstick Band-Aids dental floss individually wrapped wet wipes dice pencils/pens small notepads/stationery candy canes
For the ninth year, Illinois Valley residents’ Christmas gifts will reach thousands of men and women in U.S. military personnel who are deployed overseas. But this is crunch time for the organizers and volunteers who stuff and mail stockings to soldiers through the local Project Santa effort. Kathy Cattani, Project Santa founder, said the deadline for donations of supplies, snacks and gift items for the stockings is Nov. 10. In addition, the organization needs monetary donations to help pay costs of shipping an expected 7,000-8,000 filled stockings overseas. Typically, Project Santa spends more than $16,000 to ship all those stockings. “The shipping is what kills us,” Cattani said. “We never know how much shipping is going to be.” Cattani and fellow Project Santa volunteers such as Heidi Milner receive names and addresses of military personnel through chaplains. They also receive requests from local families and service personnel, as well as from soldiers who saw comrades receive stockings on previous deployments, who learned about Project Santa by word of mouth or through the Project Santa Facebook page or e-mails. “Quite a few soldiers who have received stockings in the past will contact us (if they are or will be deployed over Christmas),” Cattani said. “The soldiers need us. They’re still deployed. There are a lot of them who don’t get care packages, and we want them to have a good Christmas.”
To help Volunteers can help Project Santa stuff stockings in the mornings of the week of Nov. 11 at the Catholic War Veterans hall on St. Vincent’s Avenue in La Salle. Cattani said while they generally want to collect all the military names and addresses, the stocking-stuffer items and postage-money by Nov. 10, they’ll still accept those things during that week. Drop boxes for supplies are at Debo’s hardware and Peru Federal in downtown Peru, the Illinois Valley Animal Rescue store at Eighth and Peoria streets in Peru and Hy-Vee. Donations also can be mailed to Project Santa; P.O. Box 169; Peru, IL 61354.
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