La Costa Glen Residents Wrap 3,400 Holiday Gifts for Troops
CARLSBAD, CALIF. — Washington may be planning a drawdown of troops from the Middle East, but thousands of men and women will still be spending the holidays this year away from family and friends. Answering the call for special holiday care packages were the residents of La Costa Glen in Carlsbad, Calif., many of them veterans of foreign wars themselves.
More than 200 residents of the retirement community held a gift-wrapping session recently to wrap Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for troops in Afghanistan. Gifts will not be shipped to Iraq because the troops stationed in that country will be coming home by the end of the year, according to event organizer and resident Sandy Wiener.
More than 3,400 holiday gifts were wrapped at the third annual event, making it the most successful wrap session ever. The gifts will be packed into 500 shipping boxes and mailed this month to be received in time for the holidays. Last year’s gift-wrapping drew 90 residents who wrapped approximately 3,000 gifts.
Included in this year’s gift boxes?
"The most requested items were beef jerky, pre-paid telephone cards, ChapSticks®, lotion and shampoo, feminine products and snacks," Wiener said. "We also included some new items this year, such as watches, DVD movies, brushes and combs, and water bottles."
Another new twist was a letter-writing campaign in which residents were asked to write letters expressing their appreciation. Each care package received a note simply addressed to "A Hero."
The gift-wrapping party is part of La Costa Glen’s four-year-old, resident-driven Care Packages From Home program. With this latest effort, more than 12,420 boxes have been shipped overseas to troops since the program was started in 2007. For more information, please visit www.carepackagesfromhome.org or www.lacostaglen.com.