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2 Holley sisters collect donations for care packs to give to local veterans

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Koryn (front) and Kayla Neale pose at the Holley Village Hall with some of the items they have collected this year to create care packs for area Veterans. This year their goal is 35 packs, up from 25 last year.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 7 November 2017 at 7:21 pm

HOLLEY – This Veterans Day marks the fourth year Koryn and Kayla Neale have collected donations for care packs to distribute to veterans in the Holley community.

The girls are the daughters of Kerri Neale and Dr. Krista Wiley-Neale and are students at Holley Central School. Koryn is in 5th grade and Kayla is in 6th grade.

Koryn says they decided to start the care pack drive after hearing first-hand experiences of members of their extended family and the struggles and challenges they faced after returning home from service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“We talked to our mom about doing something,” Koryn says.  “We felt veterans weren’t getting the appreciation they needed after risking their lives so we can be free.”

The girls collect both monetary donations and items including Kleenex packs, chap sticks, cough drops, sugar free candy, pens, small notebooks, small lotions, toothpaste, mouth wash, soap, gum, mints, combs, Q-tips, razors, Suduko books, cross word puzzle books, calendars, coupon books, gift certificates, socks and hats.

“We try to think of things that would be useful,” the girls said.

These are some of the items included in the Veterans Day Care Packs.

Boxes for collection of donations are set up around the Holley community including the Village Hall, the Holley Library, the offices of  Dr. Steven Thompson, DDS and Dr. Daniel Schiavone, DDS (both dentists also donate oral care products), the VFW, American Legion, KD Flooring & Supply and Wiley’s Ark Animal Care.

Items are then sorted and placed in patriotically decorated gift bags for distribution.  Last year the girls personally handed out 25 care bags filled with over 20 items including a personal note of thanks. Koryn said one year she included a poem she had written in the thank you card.

They visit the Marines birthday party event at the Holley VFW, which this year is Thursday, Nov. 9, and the Veterans Day ceremonies at the American Legion Hall to distribute the care packs.

Local veterans have been both surprised and touched by the care packages, said the girls and their mom, Dr. Krista Wiley-Neale say.

Particularly with Vietnam Era and older Vets, “this has been their first experience with children thinking of them,” Wiley-Neale says.

The collection box is shown at the Holley Village Hall.

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