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North Georgia College & State University, Appalachian Community Bank team up to boost troops
These are some of the supplies gathered at North Georgia College & State University for care packages for soldiers overseas through the Support the Troops program. - photo by For The Times

How to help

  • Take items to any building on the North Georgia College & State University campus or to Appalachian Community Bank in Dahlonega.
  • Items requested include canned food, drink mix, instant pudding, plastic bowls, chewy candy, coffee makers, chips, movies, pillows, portable fans, hand-held games, cards, board games, footballs, disposable wipes, crossword puzzle books, disposable cameras, global calling cards, journals, sunglasses, athlete’s foot lotion, fly swatters, magazines, nasal spray, lip balm, lotion, protein or power bars, multivitamins.

Nasal spray, fly swatters and instant pudding — just a few items soldiers in Afghanistan want.

North Georgia College & State University is teaming up with the Appalachian Community Bank in Dahlonega to send care packages to troops at the end of June.

"The Appalachian Community Bank folks did this grassroots effort to find out what the troops wanted — things from portable fans to golf clubs or footballs," said Joshua Preston, public relations coordinator at the university. "The list shows insight into what soldiers want and the small things we take for granted, like a newsmagazine, that reminds them of home."

Appalachian Community Bank supports community outreach each month, and June’s program is "Support the Troops." Bobbie Jo Lea, a community service representative for the bank, contacted her brother-in-law in Afghanistan, Capt. Robert Moyer, and he sent a list of items from his troops.

"We know of some soldiers in Baghdad who never receive any kind of mail," Lea said. "So we’re making sure the captains get them a package."

Care packages are "probably the best thing ever to receive," said Sgt. Jason Goza, assistant National Guard liaison at the university. Goza served in Company H of the 121st Long Range Reconnaissance Surveillance for the Georgia Army National Guard in Iraq in 2006.

"They’re a major morale booster, like Christmas every two weeks," he said. "Everybody from local schools to Rotary clubs sent my platoon packages with hand soap, magazines and tobacco. Some of the most memorable ones included cards from elementary school kids. I read every single one."

The Gainesville-based Charlie Company, part of the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Brigade was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year. They head overseas after completing training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. The university will send packages to a specific person if an address is provided.

"We’ve been assured that they will be added to the distribution list," said Wendy Evans, organizer the campus effort and president of the university’s Staff Council. "If this is successful, and there are a mound of items already, with half of our faculty and 90 percent of students gone in the summer, we’ll do this again in the fall."

North Georgia has 10 locations on campus, including the library and welcome center, with deposit boxes for the items. The boxes are on campus until June 24 and will be shipped to more than 500 service members by the end of the month.

"Almost every building on campus has filled their bucket," Evans said. "If everyone thinks about the troops when they go to the grocery store or dollar store and brings in one item, that’s huge."