11/25/11 Local woman, schools partner to help troops

Local woman, schools partner to help troops
By Mike Wilder The Times-News 11/25/11     
Reprinted with permission.

     An Alamance County woman is hoping an effort to collect items for men and women serving overseas in the military will spread throughout local schools.

   Katie Berry is a senior paralegal with Deuterman Law Group in Greensboro and the parent of children who attend E.M. Holt Elementary School and Southern Middle School.

   The law firm’s Operation Shoebox campaign runs through Dec. 14.

   Berry got help from Jenny Faulkner, the Alamance-Burlington School System’s public information officer, in spreading the word to schools so principals can decide if the effort fits with things already planned at their schools through mid-December.

   Berry said she’s encouraged by the initial reaction to the request for schools to participate.

   She said the counselor at E.M. Holt Elementary School has agreed to coordinate efforts there, while the Key Club at Southern Alamance High School and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Eastern Alamance High School will tackle the project.

   Among the most-desired items are magazines and other reading material, along with puzzle books.    “They say the Sudoku books are really popular,” Berry said.

   Items such as prepaid phone cards and writing paper, envelopes, and pens and pencils, help men and women in the military keep in touch with loved ones.

   Other suggested items include heat-resistant candy, beef jerky, granola bars and gum. Personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and deodorant are requested.

   Miscellaneous items people are asked to donate include fly strips, disposable cameras, small batter-powered fans and flashlights and extra batteries for both.

   Among younger students especially, Berry said, a big part of the effort will be writing letters and cards to people in the service.

   A photographer, Berry said she’s working on plans to take photos to raise money for schools or grades within a school that have the highest level of participation in the Operation Shoebox campaign.

   Campaign organizers will drop off flyers with information about what items are needed to participating schools, along with drop boxes, and will pick up the items when the collection effort ends.

   Learn more at www.operationshoebox.com