Hundreds of Mississippi Soldiers deployed overseas will have a merry Christmas thanks to the Soldier's Angels Organization and members of the Hancock High School ROTC.
The students boxed up Christmas gifts and goodies for the 857th Engineering Battalion based in Picayune now deployed in Afghanistan.
The ROTC cadets became Santa's elves as they formed an assembly line to box up the Christmas goods for some local soldiers who won't be home for the holidays.
"You've got to imagine what it must be like not to be with your family on Christmas in a foreign country. And hopefully this will make a difference in their lives," said Jeanne "Granny" Graeser a member of the Soldier's Angels Organization.
Graeser has organized Operation Christmas for the Soldier's for the past four years.
She says it's a project she can't do alone. It's a community effort with a lot of folks pitching in.
"My church jumped in there and we have tons of warm caps that they knitted for these guys to keep warm. We also have tons of hot chocolate," said Graeser.
In addition to the gifts and goodies the troops will also receive decorations including Christmas trees.
The cadets say they are happy to help.
"With this I think they will feel loved and it will show them there are caring people from back home," said 10th grade student, Brianna Sones.
Eleventh grader and ROTC student, Matthew Price said, "It makes them feel they are thought of."
Hayley Blackwell is also an ROTC student in the 12th grade. She echoed his words.
"They are pretty much lonely. They don't have family. They miss Christmas, so this little bit helps them," Blackwell said.
Eleventh grader and ROTC student, Tyler Bond agreed.
"Their sprits are going to go from down here to all the way up here. It's going to be really good for them I wish I was there to see their faces. To see their expressions. Cause I know it's going to be a real magical moment," Bond said.
Setco Oilfield Services out of Harvey, LA donated man power and a trailer to help load the boxes for shipment. The American Legion Post 77 in Waveland also played a key role in getting the packages to the troops.
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