St. John's Episcopal Church families in Palmerton are making the holidays a little brighter for thirteen of our service men and woman.

This is the third year in a row that Deb Craig, a member of St. John's, has headed up this very worthy project.

"We get the names of the service members from parishioners of our church or from people who have heard about what we are doing. They send us addresses of their soldiers. We want to reach as many as we can and the soldier doesn't have to be just from the Palmerton area," said Deb.

This is a project that is near and dear to Deb's heart as she grew up in a military family. She also served in the Armed Forces for over three years. She knows first hand what it is like to be away from home for the holidays and how getting a box in the mail can lift your spirits.

"The first year we did this we sent out 11 boxes and the second and third year we sent 13 each year," added Deb.

Personal hygiene products, comfort items and phone cards are some of the many items that make up the 20-25-pound boxes for each soldier.

The gifts and the postage are paid for by donations from the St. John's parishioners, various businesses in Palmerton and surrounding area in Carbon County and by many private donations.

"We send out a letter first to the soldier. It explains who we are and what we are doing and that they should expect to receive a box in the next few days," Deb added.

"This year we put a small snowflake in each box and we have a similar snowflake in which we wrote their names on and we have them hanging on our church Christmas tree," she explained.

St. Johns does not expect a thank you from any of the recipients of the boxes, as they understand it may not be possible.

Although one year a soldier sent them a United States flag which they proudly keep in the church.

"Remembering our military doesn't stop at Christmas. At different times during the year and especially at holidays we send them a card to let them know they are in our prayers and we are hoping for their safe return home soon," said Deb.

St. John's Episcopal Church is located at 365 Lafayette Avenue in Palmerton.