The children of Child Development, Inc.'s Tamaqua center are making sure that American troops stationed overseas are not being forgotten.

The children recently held a collection of food, health and beauty aid items and paper products, which were to be sent to U.S. military personnel through the efforts of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 360, Weatherly.

Frances Keener, president of the unit, and member Pat Clemens, who also serves as Eastern Pa. veterans affairs vice chairperson, stopped at the center to pick up the collected items to send them off.

"I have a list of names that we can ship to," said Clemens. "I have been trying very hard to target local soliders from Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne Counties who are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan."

Clemens noted that because of privacy laws, she needs families with members serving in the military to contact her so that she can put their names on her list.

"It really brightens their day when they hear from the kids back home," added Clemens.

Mary Lacher, early childhood development specialist for the center, said the children will also be sending letters to the troops as their April project. Some will also serve as Internet Pen Pals.

Lacher said she got to know Clemens when her grandson was in the Head Start program at the center; Clemens' granddaughter is enrolling for the next session as well. Clemens suggested connecting with the troops as an activity for the children, who previously sent cards to the soldiers on Veterans Day. The collection project was also put on ther center's activities list.

"The children did a wonderful job with this," praised Clemens.

One of the children at the center, Emma Shobe, 4, has her father, WOC Jeeremy Shobe, currently working on the LSV-7. Her mother, Shannon, is an American Legion Auxiliary junior member and was on hand as the unit picked up the donated goods.

Anyone with names of local service personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who would like them to be included in future shipments can contact Pat Clemens at (570) 668-4886 or (570) 952-4239.