Charity group already thinking about Christmas

By WEEK Producer

July 8, 2013 Updated Jul 8, 2013 at 12:10 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON , Ill. -- While most people are busy enjoying the summer months, there is one central Illinois organization already thinking about the winter holidays.

Operation Santa is in its 9th year of sending Christmas stockings to troops overseas.

Each stocking is handmade and includes a signed holiday card and some basic necessity items like toothbrushes and toothpaste.

"War zones take first priority. We'll send to Afghanistan, we get the name of a deployed loved one, and we'll start taking those about September or October. We find out how many in his or her unit, and we send enough stockings to that one person for their whole unit," said Sharon McCauley, President of Operation Santa.

The organization has fundraisers and collects non-perishable items throughout the year.

The president of Operation Santa said right now their biggest need is money. Last year, they spent $27,000 on shipping fees.

This year their goal is to send 20,000 stockings to deployed troops.

If you would like to donate, items can be dropped off at any fire station in Peoria, Bloomington or Normal fire station.

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