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It’s only October, but Peoria is asking you to be Santa for a soldier

(Bill Alkofer/The Orange County Register via AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. — It’s never too early to start thinking about gifts for the holidays. In Peoria, the city wants people to consider branching out from just family gifts and join its sixth year of “Christmas for the Troops.”

“Our club has been asking the cities of the West Valley to donate personal items, gift kind of things,” said Rachelle Barrett, president of the Peoria Lions Sunset Club.

Things like socks, travel size hygiene items, candy, protein bars, gum, chapstick.

“That we then package in the military box and mail overseas to our troops between this time and Thanksgiving so they arrive by Christmas time,” she said.

The most important thing they need is cash, she said. It takes roughly $15 each in postage to air-drop around 300 boxes.

People can drop the stuff off at any city of Peoria building, fire house, library or city hall.

The troops also enjoy Christmas cards.

“But don’t just sign them, write a letter,” she said. “They beg for letters. Have your children make cards because they’re missing their own kids.”

Here are some of the other items requested by the city for the troops:

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes, toilet paper, shaving cream, feminine hygiene products, eye drops, lip balm, sunscreen, white tube socks, black or tan uniform socks, winter thermal underwear, protein bars, jerky, peanuts, candy, gum, mints, game books, playing cards, small toys, and cash donations to help defray postage costs.

Travel size items are preferred. The drive is going to last until Oct. 28.

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