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A shoebox isn’t that big, not really. But the amount of love that can fi t into one is amazing. Imagine the overwhelming sense of joy in receiving a box, unsolicited and out of the blue, fi lled with items intended to bring a smile to your face and let you know you are appreciated. Support Military Spouses delivers boxes like this all the time. It is their way of saying “Thank you, we appreciate you,” to military spouses.12-14-11-shoe-boxes.jpg

This holiday season, to show love and support to local military spouses, the organization plans to deliver 1,000 boxes to Fort Bragg.

“We really just want these spouses to know that we are thankful for them and the sacrifi ces they make as they support their service members,” said Diane Rumley. “People who don’t live this lifestyle have no idea the sacrifi ces that military families make.”

The boxes are scheduled to be delivered to the Family Readiness Group center on Fort Bragg on Dec. 23 and will be disbursed from there.

Being America’s Most Patriotic Home Town, Fayetteville is no stranger to the military lifestyle. Its citizens see everyday the stress that 10 years of war has brought to the lives of military families. Its affect on marriages and children has been enormous.

While a shoebox may not feel like much to the person sending it, organizers say it’s more than plenty for the people receiving it, because it is the thought behind it that makes a difference. It’s the notes of encouragement and the prayers that people put in them that lift the spirits and inspire the families who receive them.

One of the many thank you notes that was written from a military spouse reads: “The shoeboxes are a wonderful change in our lifestyle as military spouses. We spend many hours making sure our soldiers are taken care of and forget to take a minute for ourselves … These gifts are a wonderful reminder that we need to take care of us in order to take care of our soldiers and families.”

There is still time to contribute and make a difference. Support Military Spouses gladly accepts shoeboxes, monetary donations and volunteers, too.

“To anyone who wants to help — in any way, shape or form we are thankful,” said Diane. “People can go to our website to see what volunteer opportunities are available.”

While the organization operates year round, there is a big push in the spring and at Christmas time to reach out and say thanks to military spouses.

Preparing a box is easy. Just fi ll a shoebox sized plastic container, include $7.50 for processing and delivery and take it to one of the many collection centers. Boxes can be dropped off at the Fayetteville-Cumberland Chamber of Commerce; Chick-fil-A’s in Fayetteville; Cary Towne Center Mall; Sanford, Leith Automall; Lumberton, Spring Lake, Holly Springs, Sanford, Hope Mills and Angier Chambers of Commerce,

Find out more about how you can contribute to the organization atwww.supportmilitaryspouses.org.

Photo: Organizers get shoe boxes ready to ship to military spouses at Fort Bragg.

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