Christmas is more than two months away, but a York City woman has already started efforts to help ensure soldiers serving overseas have a joyous holiday.
Joyce Turner has kicked off her annual Santa for Soldiers campaign. She's been collecting items for soldiers since 2007.
The drive to gather items ranging from toothpaste to chewing gum and jerky to lip balm runs through Nov. 14, with a number of collection bins located in the area.
The goodies will be shipped to a U.S. Army regiment stationed in South Korea, Turner said.
What's different about Santa for Soldiers is that the group doesn't mail individual packages but rather sends large boxes, allowing soldiers to grab items they need or want.
"Then everyone gets a little bit of everything," Turner said.
Collections: With American soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, some people back home forget members of the armed forces are stationed all over the world and many won't be home for the holidays, said Iona Conlon, alumni relations and stewardship officer at Penn State York.
"We have soldiers all over," she said.
Turner joined forces with Penn State York's Blue and White Society
and Alumni Society, York City's Consolidated School of Business Community Service Club, and Mount Rose Barberama in Spring Garden Township to put on the yearly drive.
Donors can drop off items at collection sites in the greater York area, including at Penn State York during its open house from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Conlon said.
They can also sign cards that will be sent along with the packages.
Each year, Turner also prepares baked goods over the Thanksgiving holiday to send to soldiers.
Organizers are hoping to collect cash donations to ship the packages to South Korea.
"It's not just the item donations; we also take monetary donations because it cost a whole heck of a lot to send (the packages) overseas," Conlon said.
Collection sites for Santa for Soldiers have been set up in York County. Here's a list of where donations can be dropped off:
---Penn State York, 1031 Edgecomb Ave. in Spring Garden Township
---Mount Rose Barberama, 1160 Mount Rose Ave. in Spring Garden Township
---Consolidated School of Business, 1605 Clugston Road in York City
Items being collected include travel-size games, candy, cookies, crackers and batteries.
For more information about Santa for Soldiers and a complete list of items, go to the group's Facebook page at facebook.com/SFS.CommandCentral.
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.