The local Shoeboxes for Soldiers drive for the Fourth of July is now underway. Area residents are being asked to support the effort, which provide care packages to soldiers serving overseas.
Those planning to participants should fill a large priority mail flat rate box with items that soldiers would appreciate receiving while they are deployed.
Suggested items include:
* Clothing: tan T-shirts, flip-flops, white socks, Army green socks, hats, gloves and blankets.
* Healthcare items: body lotions, toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens saline solution, Band-Aids, surgical tape, gauze, Tylenol, Tums, allergy/cold medicine, Gold Bond foot powder, Lotriman Ultra, baby wipes, sunblock, Chapstick, deodorant, razors, eye drops, Ben Gay, Icy Hot and Q-tips.
* Snacks: beef jerky, dried fruit, Pop Tarts, hard candy, mixed nuts, granola bars, fruit roll-ups, ramen noodles, tuna in a pouch, gum, mints, powdered drink mix and other non-perishable food items.
* Other supplies: hand warmers, batteries, board games, word search and Sudoku puzzle books, CDs, DVDs, disposable cameras, pens, pencils, hand-held games, duct tape, electrical tape and super glue.
The priority mail boxes can be obtained free at the post office. The boxes measure 12 inches by 12 inches by five inches. If someone cannot get a priority box, they are welcome to donate just the items needed to fill the boxes. Handwritten letters or notes can also be added to each box to personalize the gift.
A letter from Alvin Schad, a veteran and former POW, will also be mailed with each box, thanking soldiers for their service.
Boxes and donated items are being collected at the the UMB Bank on Broadway in Monett and the National Guard Armories in Pierce City and Monett.
All boxes collected in the local area will be transported to Springfield and become part of the Shoeboxes for Soldiers effort sponsored by KTTS radio station. The collection effort will continue through June 4. Boxes will be mailed so they arrive in time for July Fourth.
The local effort is being orchestrated by a retired first sergeant from the Barry County area, who is passionate about this project but wishes to remain anonymous.
"Individuals, schools, churches and companies are all urged to participate and help remember our troops," the sergeant said.