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Special Delivery and a Special Request

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Oviedo’s Military Support Team delivers a taste of the holidays to soldiers overseas, and the team needs your help!

Cookies. Some say they’re as American as apple pie. With the holidays fast approaching, cookies are often a favorite sweet treat that evokes fond memories of home and family. But if you’re a soldier serving thousands of miles away in a foreign land, those fond memories may be hard to come by. That is, unless, you’re one of the many servicemembers who receive the generous care packages filled with cookies and more sent each holiday by the First United Methodist Church of Oviedo’s Military Support Team.

In 2007, Liz Whitley and Karen Quick, the congregational care minister for the church, founded the Military Support Team with just a handful of volunteers who collected needed personal items, sewed Christmas stockings, and baked cookies for soldiers serving at home and overseas. At the time, Liz and her husband Larry had a son in the 82nd Airborne who was deployed to Afghanistan. His was the first unit to receive packages from the Military Support Team. Today, the volunteer effort has grown to more than 50 people, with some having members of their own families in service.  

Now under the direction of Retired Colonel Lee Barnes, the team, which still includes a very enthusiastic and active Liz, is gearing up for this holiday season.

“We are proud to announce we will be packing our homemade Christmas stockings for our troops on Sunday, November 20, beginning at 9:00 a.m.,” says Liz. “And we’d love some help! We’re hoping to pack 1,000 stockings.”

Liz assures that stockings will be filled to the brim, along with a note or card wishing each soldier a Merry Christmas. The Military Support Team welcomes the community to participate in the holiday event. 

What keeps the Military Support Team going year after year are letters like these from the troops:

Colonel Barnes,

Good afternoon Sir, my name is SGT William Lawhon. I am writing you on behalf of Bravo Company, 3-15 IN BN, 2IBCT, 3ID. We would like to thank you and your organization for sending us the care packages. As you know, receiving care packages is a big boost for our morale. It is always nice to receive things we do not have access to where we are deployed. It is also a blessing for the soldiers who do not have anyone back at home.

For me personally, one of the reasons I love to serve is because of the good-hearted Americans, such as yourself, and the members of your church. The people who have not forgotten that we are still overseas fighting to keep the Homeland safe.
Thank you again for your generosity. Your donation is greatly appreciated. Take care and God bless.

Sincerely,
The Members of Bandit Company

Sir,

My name is SPC Moreno and I currently serve as a Chaplain Assistant in HHC 1/124TH in Djibouti Africa. I am writing you to tell you thank you! Thank you so much for your wonderful care package. Our troops really appreciated it! I was able to distribute it to soldiers in need. It really lit up their faces! Thank you for investing time and money into our unit. Your efforts really make a difference in our lives. We were in desperate need and you were able to help diminish it.

Thanks again for everything!
SPC Moreno

Here’s how you can get involved: 

Sponsor a stocking 
for a soldier for $10 
Checks can be mailed to First United Methodist Church, 263 King Street, Oviedo, FL 32765.
(Be sure to write Christmas Stocking
 on the memo line.)

Purchase items for stockings
Needed items include:
•Packaged cookies
•Lip balm
•Deodorant
•Gum, hard candy, cough drops
•Granola bars
•Fun games
Items may be dropped off at the church office during regular business hours prior to November 18. 

Come to the church on November 20 to help pack stockings!

For more information, or to get involved, contact Lee Barnes at 
Bronco7a@hotmail.com.

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