Slidell Ladies for Liberty has shipped more than 23,000 care boxes to military members deployed overseas since the volunteer organization began more than a decade ago.
This season, it's asking people in the community to adopt a service member for Christmas.
Although the group ships three to four boxes a month all year long, December is particularly important because members hope special Christmas boxes arrive in time for the holiday.
“There are those serving in the armed forces who will not be able to be home for the holidays,” said Donna Maeder, the volunteer in charge of the Adopt a Hero program. Slidell Ladies for Liberty wants to ensure they know their sacrifice is appreciated.
The group is asking for community members, Scout troops, businesses and others to adopt one of the 40 soldiers on its list.
“It is a way to show appreciation to those who have put their lives in harm’s way protecting our freedom,” she said.
The recipients are in every branch of the service, Maeder added.
Since she began volunteering five years ago, the list has numbered from 13 to as many as 65. These include deployments from Camp Villere in Slidell as well as those who are family members or have a connection to someone in Slidell.
Anyone interested is asked to email her at AdoptAHero@outlook.com to receive a list of requested items for the boxes, and to ensure they get the exact information on how to ship the items.
The deadline to mail the box is Dec. 5 so the servicemen and women will receive it by Christmas.
“We normally send one or two snack boxes, plus one toiletry box. All these items fit in a box that costs $17.60 each to ship," she said.
“We do things a little differently in December,” she added, because the Adopt a Hero program allows for individuals to ship any size box they want, at their expense. People can send footballs and other requested items that don’t fit into the boxes the group uses.
The boxes should be decorated and include seasonal items to spread some Christmas cheer overseas.
“We want them to have a holiday experience opening the box,” she said. “People can use their imaginations.”
There will also be a special Christmas cookie box sent this month. Maeder said the cookie-packing day is the most fun, with volunteers going around the tables selecting and packaging an assortment of homemade treats. The cookies go in plastic bags and are packed into square tins.
“They are truly something homemade to help these heroes think of home,” she said.
The cookie packing will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 100 Mission Drive in Slidell. To sign up to bake homemade cookies to send to the troops, contact Jahneen McBrayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After Christmas, the Slidell Ladies will continue with monthly care packages, which members pack on the third Wednesday of the month. For information, visit slidellladiesforliberty.org.