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Local businesses help our troops with Operation Sandbox Georgia

Boxes are filling and funds are rolling in as “Operation Sandbox,” in Georgia, for the sixth consecutive year, collects donations and goods and assembles care packages that will be shipped to deployed troops.

Monetary contributions (checks or cash) or donated items will be accepted at local businesses in Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Newnan and Fairburn through Nov. 30.

(For more photos of pickup points, click here.)

The donated items are those that have been most requested by troops, and it varies from year to year. This year the list includes: food items such as pop tarts, Ramen noodles and canned fruit; hygiene items such as shampoo, men’s and women’s deodorant and mouthwash; drink mixes like Kool-aid singles; snack items such as twizzlers and popcorn; and others. A complete listing of items will be found at local drop off points.

Local drop off points include: Miles Ace Hardware #1 in Peachtree City (770-487-7533); Big Daddy’s in Fayetteville (678-817-1640); Cycle City Power Sports in Newnan (770-253-2201); Discount Golf Shop in Peachtree City (770-486-7474); Eye Care Plus in Peachtree City (770-487-2020); Gilroy’s Complete Hardware & Lumber in Peachtree City (770-487-8765); Great South Harley Davidson in Newnan (678-228-8213), King’s Custom Cycle in Fairburn (770-756-9803), Peachtree Tan & Salon in Peachtree City (770-631-0088); The Men’s World Barber Shop in Fayetteville (770-487-9061); and The Village Paint Stores in Fayetteville (770-461-1556 and Peachtree City (770-487-3949).

On Dec. 5, a local patriot who wishes to remain anonymous will deliver the items to a central staging area for packaging and mailing in time for Christmas.

Co-founders Virginia Pearson and her daughter, Julie, started operation Sandbox, a 501C(3) non-profit organization, in November 2004. Churches, civic organizations, businesses and individuals supported it. That first year they sponsored 32 extra-large Christmas stockings totaling 420 pounds of items to a Marine unit in Iraq, where Julie’s fiancé was serving his second tour.

What started as a one-time effort quickly expanded into a massive undertaking that collects and ships thousands of pounds of needed items to tens of thousands of troops of all services in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It has been amazing to see the outpouring of love indicated by donations of money, time and items needed by our troops,” say the organizers on their website.

The high level of effort has captured the attention and respect of people from all walks of life, from state elected officials to the vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army in Washington D.C. It was the subject of an 11 Alive News feature and is covered heavily by local media.

“We send care packages to let our troops know they are deeply appreciated for the sacrifices they are making by serving our country,” say the Pearsons. “We not only support Georgia’s troops but all of our military.”

For more information see the website at www.operationsandboxga.com.

In the photos, staff at Cycle City Powersports of Newnan pose with a pallet of items already collected for Operation Sandbox Georgia.

Brian Keys from Gilroys in Peachtree City shows off the Operation Sandbox Georgia drop box at his store.

Tim Humble from Miles Ace Hardware store on Ga. Highway 54 near Peachtree City at the Operation Sandbox Georgia dropoff in his store.

— By RANDY GADDO, volunteer

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