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Operation Gift Drop

Help our troops overseas -- participate in Operation Gift Drop

More than 3,000 pounds of materials sent so far as part of American Red Cross Operation Enduring Support

Since November, 2001 the American Red Cross of Lee County has conducted a program that supports U.S. troops overseas by sending "quality of life" items that are distributed free of charge by Red Cross personnel at deployment sites.  The program, Operation Gift Drop, sends packages of personal hygiene items, snacks, candy and recreational or entertainment items for use by the troops who are deployed at sites where supplies are limited.

As of February 2003, more than 3,000 pounds of items have been sent with shipments scheduled every month to deployment sites in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba. More sites will become available as troops are assembled in various areas.

 American Red Cross personnel accompany the U.S. military at deployment sites in all parts of the world, ensuring that emergency communications from family members are sent and received and conducting morale building activities. The packages sent as part of Operation Gift Drop are distributed free of charge at Red Cross canteens.

The Red Cross is accepting donations of items from the list below. Equally important and much needed are financial donations to ship these packages overseas. The cost averages $1 per pound. You can make a financial donation by check, made out to the American Red Cross of Lee County (indicate "AFES Program Support" in the memo line). Call our office at (239) 278-3401 or click here to make a credit card donation.

Items must be new and in the original packaging where applicable. Used items will not be accepted.

Here's what we need:

  • Individually wrapped pieces of hard candy (Twizzlers, Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Roll Pops; Bubble Gum; Skittles; lollipops; Life Savers; Candy Sticks; Sweet Tarts, Mary Jane; Bit 'O Honey; etc.)  no home made items or chocolate please.

  • Microwave popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and other snack foods.

  • Sweetened Kool-Aid, Gatorade, and other sweetened drink mixes, coffee, sugar, creamer, tea bags, hot chocolate, hot cider.

  • Toiletry items such as shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower soap/gel, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, wet wipes.

  • Sunscreen, wrap-around sunglasses.

  • Batteries (Assorted sizes).

  • Blank greeting cards (birthday; anniversary; Get Well; Miss You; Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.).

  • Videos, DVD's, music CD's and cassettes.

  • Small board games such as Chess, Checkers, Dominoes, Parcheesi, Yahtzee, Uno, Cribbage, jigsaw puzzles, playing cards.

  •  Recent paperback books (mysteries, action, drama, and science fiction are highly read), puzzle books, comic books.

  • Holiday Decorations (St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Passover,  Patriotic Holidays; etc.)

  • Due to security restrictions, completed greetings cards, letters, and notes are accepted on a limited basis and only from youth groups. These letters and cards cannot include the full name or personal address of the youth and must be donated in unsealed envelopes.

For more information, call our office at (239) 278-3401.

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