/PRNewswire/ -- For the last two years, James Ward and his family have sent a bit of Christmas cheer to deployed American service members in Iraq and Afghanistan through Operation Christmas Tree, but this year that could change. Last year they sent 5,000 live Christmas trees. Now a goal of 2,000 may be out of reach, even with the efforts of fellow military support organization Soldiers' Angels, which contributed $2,000 to the cause yesterday.
In years past, the spirits of soldiers deployed during the Holidays have been buoyed by an extraordinary gift--a live Christmas tree complete with tiny ornaments and lights from Operation Christmas Tree. One soldier wrote, "I couldn't believe what I found in that little box. Wow. And it even smells a little like a Christmas tree!" Another exclaimed, "I am so moved and filled with joy. Thank you multiplied by a billion isn't enough for this simple act of kindness."
The recession has hit Operation Christmas Tree hard, with only five percent of the donations coming in that they've had in the past. "If we can't bring in more, there will be no trees going out this year," reports Ward, with a catch in his voice. "But I have faith that Americans will come though once again. Last year we got our last $10,000 needed on the day we packed the trees!"
Soldiers' Angels is calling on other organizations, companies and individuals to make sure that once again this year, deployed servicemen and women will have the experience of opening up a box in the sands of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan and finding a piece of Christmas inside. Says founder Patti Patton-Bader, "When our heroes are serving in dangerous places far from home on our behalf at Christmas, we owe them so much. A piece of home like this is a treasure."
Established in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing aid and comfort to the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, veterans and military families. For more info, see www.soldiersangels.org or call (615) 676-0239. Tax ID# 20-0583415
Operation Christmas Tree is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a singular mission: sending live Christmas Trees to the deployed "until our troops are home." For more info, see www.operationchristmastree.com or call 410-984-7300. Tax ID# 84-1722360.
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