Home Community Community News Fourth annual holiday drive for deployed troops underway

Fourth annual holiday drive for deployed troops underway

For the fourth year in a row, two Southold women are working hard to make the holidays a little brighter for deployed service men and women.

Claire Kennedy and Patty Hocker began their annual collection drive in 2014 after Hocker expressed a desire to do something special for service members who were away from home during the holidays.

“It’s become a joint effort between the two of us,” said Kennedy. “She had always wanted to do something like this and I had the military connection through my husband, who is in the Air National Guard.”

The first few years the women collected snacks and toiletries, shipping them overseas.

“But shipping is very expensive and there are space restrictions to consider, so we decided to start sending gift cards instead,” said Kennedy.

This year donations will be sent to the crew of the USS New York, a Navy ship whose construction incorporated scrap steel from the World Trade Center.

Gift cards valued at no more than $20 for stores such as Amazon, eBay, Google Play, i-Tunes, Target, Walmart or Best Buy are welcome. Cash donations will be used to purchase gifts for the entire crew and cover shipping expenses.

Donations will be accepted until Dec. 5 at the Southold Fish Market, Southold Pharmacy, Wendy’s Deli in Mattituck.

New drop-off locations are going to be added; information will be available at the drive’s Facebook page.

Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine