By CHERIL VERNON
A local mom who has a daughter serving overseas with the Navy is working with the Navy for Moms organization to collect Christmas goodie bag items for the sailors.
“These goodie bags will go to those serving in the Navy on U.S.S. Boxer and U.S.S. Harry S. Truman because the men and women on these ships will be deployed during the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year’s for sure,” Jackie Weatherly said. “Some of these guys and gals are very young — 18- and 19-years-old — and many of them don’t have anyone sending them anything from home and this might be the first time that they won’t be home for Christmas.”
Between the two ships there are about 8,000 sailors onboard, Weatherly said.
Weatherly is hoping to collect items for the Christmas goodie bags such as trial size hand sanitizer, sunscreen, chapstick, individual snacks such as crackers or beef jerky, hard candy, jelly beans or gum (no chocolate or gummy-like candy), individual packets of coffee, flavored water packets, card games, etc.
The items can be dropped off at Dogwood Trails Assisted Living & Memory Care, located at 1625 W. Spring St.
“The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 991 is assisting me with this,” Weatherly said.
Weatherly’s daughter Sabrina Weatherly, a 2012 graduate of Neches High School, currently is serving on the U.S.S. Nimitz. She sends her daughter a care package as often as she can.
Weatherly has heard first-hand how much receiving items can boost the moral of the sailors through previous projects she has worked on.
“We did a birthday list pillowcase project where we made pillowcases just from regular fabric for the different sailors for their birthdays,” Weatherly said. “You wouldn’t believe how much this meant to some of the sailors. Some of them don’t have anybody and projects like this is all they get.”
Weatherly is hoping to collect enough items by Nov. 1 so that 100 Christmas goodie bags can be filled and mailed off in time for the holidays.
For more information about the Christmas goodie bags project for the Navy, call Weatherly at 903-724-0764.