Emporia Main Street is once again partnering with members of the local community to help spread some holiday cheer to those serving overseas.

This week, the organization has been steadily gathering supplies to be used in the creation of soldier care packages. The boxes will be sent to troops from around the region as soon as next week, but there’s still time to help with the cause. Donated items can be brought to either the Twin Rivers Winery and Gourmet Shoppe, 627 Commercial St., or the Emporia Main Street offices at 727 Commercial St. through regular business hours on Friday. Funds can also be donated online at emporiamainstreet.com/programs/design/beyond-the-banners/gift-packages-troops. All monetary donations will be spent on items purchased from local businesses or to cover the cost of shipping — which ran nearly $900 last year.

“This has been going on for several years,” Main Street Community Development Coordinator Jessica Buchholz said. “The last couple of years, we’ve had local Emporians that have been overseas, so that really was the driving force of doing the care package program. We know that those service men and women love to get stuff from their communities. We’ve talked to a couple different soldiers that were on the receiving end of those packages and they said getting them was just awesome. It’s such a big ‘thank you’ from the community and just really enhances the holidays to get packages from home.”

Those wishing to bring in supplies should focus on non-perishable or heat-resistance food and powdered beverages; recreational items such as card games, CDs and DVDs; communication and correspondence materials like notebooks, blank holiday cards, and journals; personal care and hygiene supplies; and articles of clothing such as fresh undershirts and socks. A complete list of approved items can be found along with the donation link.

Main Street staff and volunteers will pack any loose items, so boxes are not required, but those that do package their own supplies are encouraged to keep them relatively small to promote faster shipping. Toiletries and food items should also be stored separately to avoid cross-contamination.

“It’s just something extra that we can do as the founding city of Veteran’s Day,” Buchholz said. “It’s such a great feeling to talk to the folks that receive the packages and know the kind of impact it makes on them. It makes you want to return to the cause each year and continue to do it.”

For further questions, contact Emporia Main Street at 620-340-6430.

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