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Library collecting unwanted gifts

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:58 p.m.

Excess holiday gifts will be accepted by the Jefferson Hills Public Library in February to go toward care packages for deployed troops.

Teens at the Jefferson Hills Public Library will work with Operation Troop Appreciation to collect donations to give to deployed troops.

“This is always a great place to donate items,” said Ann Zettl, children and teen librarian at the Jefferson Hills Public Library.

“Our patrons are very generous with what they give.”

While this is the first time that the library is working with Operation Troop Appreciation, the library started collecting items for care packages to give to the troops about three years ago, Zettl said. Library volunteers will collect the items while those with Operation Troop Appreciation will put the packages together and ship them abroad.

The care packages are meant to provide support and aid to those deployed, especially men and women who don't receive care packages from family and friends.

“They have people that don't receive anything from families,” Zettl said. “Some of them can't afford these items.”

Items being collected can be excess holiday gifts, toiletries or food. They include DVDs, CDs, cards, board games, books, magazines, batteries, puzzle books such as Sudoku, hygiene items, socks, twin-set sheets and blankets, bath towels, wash cloths, men's boxer shorts, T-shirts and sports bras.

“They're always in need of socks,” Zettl said.

Food items include trail mix, dried fruit, beef jerky and specialty ground coffee. The library will not accept already opened or used food, clothing or hygiene items.

“The troops always enjoy getting those sweets,” Zettl said.

Likewise, the project is a good way for teenagers to give back to those men and women in the military.

“It seems like their hearts are really into the volunteerism,” Zettl said.

Those who wish to donate items may drop them off at the Jefferson Hills Public Library, located at 925 Old Clairton Road. For more information, call the library at 412-655-7741 or go to the Operation Troop Appreciation website at http://www.operationtroopappreciation.org.

Monetary donations can be sent to Operation Troop Appreciation, P.O. Box 14550, Pittsburgh, PA 15234.

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at lvanwert@tribweb.com.

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