Operation: Touch of Home (OTOH) began in 2003 when Dean and Sharon Green of Effort, had been to see their son, Christopher Green at Camp LeJeune Marine Base in Jacksonville, N.C. just before he was deployed to Iraq. They knew how much getting care packages of home would mean to him and thought, if it would mean that much to their son, how many other military folks would also like to receive a little touch of home. With a core group of family members and friends, Operation: Touch of Home was born and they have been sending care packages to our troops ever since.

An average shipment is about 500 lbs. and costs over $8,000 to send. To date, OTOH has shipped almost 3,500 boxes at a weight of 90,000 lbs. for $42,080.50.

"Primarily we do two large shipments a year, one in the spring and one in fall just before the Christmas season. On occasion we will work on a 'special' project that may arise and we have the facilities to accomodate," says Bill Marks, an OTOH volunteer.

OTOH asks for donations of items like instant coffee, tea bags, gum, candy, cookies, beef jerky, cup of soups, games, CDs, DVDs, AA, AAA batteries, sunscreen SPF45 and higher, fly traps, fly swatters, colored socks (no white), baby wipes, lip balm, foot powder, dental floss and so much more. (You can visit OTOH's website at www.touchofhome.org to see a more detailed list.)

Being an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, they operate on a very tight budget and expenses are ever-increasing. They couldn't do it without the generosity of the community and folks like Staff Sgt. William (Bill) Wary who will be running in the Steamtown Marathon and hoping to raise $1,000 to donate to OTOH.

To make a contribution in Bill Wary's name, a check may be made out to "Operation: Touch of Home" and mailed to P.O. Box 162, Brodheadsville, PA 18322.

Contributions are 100 percent tax deductible and 100 percent of every donation received is used in support of American troops serving in harms way. You can contact someone through email, touchofhome@hotmail.com or Bill Marks at 570-977-1724.