• Opportunities to give in community

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    The Christmas season is here and many local organizations, businesses and schools are making the effort to give back to those in need and are asking the public to help.
    Angel Tree
    The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Angel Tree is in the lobby of the Post Exchange through Dec. 19. BOSS has sponsored the Angel Tree for more than eight years. To donate, select a tag from the tree and take it shopping. When checking out, present the angel tag to the cashier for a 10 percent discount. Purchased items should be placed in the box by customer service with the tag by close of business Dec. 19.
    The Angel Tree sponsors up to 50 families of Fort Leavenworth service members each year. Leftover items are donated to the KVC Health Systems.
    “It’s an opportunity for BOSS (and Army Community Service) to provide community service and most importantly to provide for military families in need,” said Jeff Honey, BOSS adviser. “It reminds us that it is not just about us and we can step outside of the box of our world and help a family to have a great holiday season. It gives hope to a family that may not be able to provide presents because they are just going through a tough time.”
    Honey said he hopes this helps families avoid deeper financial stress during the holiday season.
    “We all know that we all take pride in providing for our families and (it) can be difficult to ask for help,” he said. “I hope BOSS and ACS can be a conduit to assist them in helping them through a rough patch and not go into debt with credit cards or any other financial burdens.”
    Food drives
    Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities is hosting its annual “Thankful Harvest Food Drive” to collect nonperishable, packaged food items and canned goods, as well as disposable baby diapers of all sizes, to donate to the Leavenworth Assistance Center.
    “FLFHC is a family-oriented community that enjoys uplifting those in need, especially during the holiday season,” said Meghan Fowler, FLFHC marketing coordinator.
    Items can be delivered to the FLFHC Community Management office at 220 Hancock Ave. during normal business hours through noon Dec. 15.
    The Fort Leavenworth Commissary is hosting the Operation Helping Hand for soldiers’ families who need assistance, said Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Fuller.
    Through Dec. 21, Commissary patrons can purchase a $9.99 bag filled with a full Christmas meal. The bags are then distributed to soldiers through their units on post. Organizations are also encouraged to donate, with the Commissary matching any donation up to $500, for a combined total of up to $5,000. Fuller said Commissary Manager Regenia Singletary and Grocery Manager Kim Solie were the “brains behind the whole thing,” but Singletary said the cashiers are the ones who deserve the thanks.
    Page 2 of 3 - “Our cashiers are going above and beyond to ask patrons if they want to purchase (the bags),” Singletary said.
    Singletary said it’s important to remember to give back to those who have less.
    “I think sometimes we get wrapped up in our everyday lives and what’s going on with our families and sometimes we forget that there (are) families that aren’t as fortunate as us,” she said. “It’s just a time to remember and give back to those who give so much because without our military men and women, a lot of our rights and privileges wouldn’t be here.”
    Local schools are participating in giving projects as well. Bradley, Eisenhower and MacArthur elementary schools have all adopted families for the season through Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.
    Bradley’s Student Council has a “Giving Buffalo” wall that can be seen by Bradley families as soon as they enter the school building. Bradley families selected what they wanted to purchase — toiletries, games, clothing, cleaning supplies, toys — for the school’s adopted family and can bring them back to the school through Dec. 8.
    “After the first few days, we already are collecting donations and many buffalo have been picked from the bulletin board to purchase and donate items,” said Student Council President and sixth-grader Jack Wittmer. “It’s important for students to participate because this family doesn’t have a lot of money to buy Christmas gifts for each other. They also do not have the daily necessities that we take for granted. So, it’s important for us to give to this family (and) to show love and support for each other.”
    MacArthur Elementary has adopted a family for the office staff and every grade level — pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Families provided surveys with their names, ages, clothing sizes, wants and needs. Through Dec. 13, MacArthur families can also donate money, which will then be evenly distributed to the families.
    Eisenhower Elementary has adopted a family through the school for whom students’ families can donate through Dec. 14.
    “Each grade level selects a child and will try to cover that child’s wish list,” said Eisenhower Principal Cindy Wepking.
    The Patton Junior High School National Honor Society and Student Council are partnering for a food drive for the Leavenworth Food Pantry to benefit low income families and community members. Through Dec. 15, Patton families can bring nonperishable and canned food items to the main office of Patton during school hours.
    “It is important for Patton Junior High students to be involved members of the community, to help support their local food shelter and experience how to be good citizens that will strengthen their leadership skills,” said Patton Curriculum Instructional Specialist Jennifer Heronema.
    Page 3 of 3 - Toys for Tots
    The Marine Corps Detachment from the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks is partnering with the Reserve Center in Topeka for Toys for Tots. Through Dec. 15, the public is encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to be placed in the Toys for Tots baskets at the Leavenworth Assistance Center and the Lewis and Clark Center. The collected toys will be handed out to needy families in the Leavenworth County area Dec. 11-15 at the Leavenworth Assistance Center, 426 Miami St., Leavenworth, Kan.
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