The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

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October 4, 2013

Our Town: Chili cookoff to benefit 'Senior Christmas Drive'

PALESTINE — Dogwood Trails Assisted Living & Memory Care will work in conjunction with several groups to host its second annual Chili Cookoff on Friday, Oct. 18 — raising funds for a “Senior Christmas Drive.”

“If you know someone who makes good chili, tell them to enter it in our chili cook-off,” Dogwood Trails Assisted Living Activity Director Debbie Wesson said.

Judging will start at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be served at noon. Admission will be a donation to the “Senior Christmas Drive.”

Several organizations are assisting with the chili cook-off and “Senior Christmas Drive” including the Vietnam Veterans of America Dogwood Chapter 991 and its Associates of VVA Chapter 991, St. Vincent de Paul, Greenbrier Nursing & Rehab Center and local home health agencies.

“With the many toy drives held each year, we decided to do something to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to our seniors,” Wesson said.

In addition, Navy for Moms will hold a bake sale at the event with proceeds going toward Christmas goodie bags that will be sent to service men and women aboard U.S.S. Truman and U.S.S. Boxer.

Navy mom Jackie Weatherly, Navy mom Amy Odom, and Amanda Smith, wife of a retired Navy man, are working to ensure the success of this project, Wesson said.

“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,” 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 for the Navy for Moms project can be dropped off at Dogwood Trails Assisted Living & Memory Care, located at 1625 W. Spring St. now through Nov. 1.

Packages must be mailed by Nov. 2. 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 information about the Navy for Moms project, call Weatherly at 903-724-0764, Odom at 903-221-3813 or Smith at 817-690-3740.

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