MERRILL - A Merrill community center is doing its part to spread holiday cheer.
The Merrill Area Community Enrichment Center often sends gifts to people in need. But this holiday season they're targeting soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"My granddaughter is serving in Afghanistan," says Nancy Wilde, from Merrill.
Wild's granddaughter inspired her to help the Merrill Area Community Enrichment Center send holiday cards to troops overseas. Director Jane Deau says they added it to the center's list of good deeds because soldiers should know how much people at home think of them.
"People do care, people are praying for them and wish them the best. And we certainly want to see them back home," says Deau.
The center played Christmas music and served refreshments to set the mood, which must have worked because they passed their original goal of 300 cards. And the project is so popular they expect to pass their new goal of 500.
"We've probably had 50 to 60 different people sign cards. Some will simply stop in and fill one out; we've had some people who have actually taken them home," says Deau.
The center sends its signature quilts to people who need them, like victims of the Merrill tornado. This year they added the troops to that list, and are sending 20 of the hand-made quilts.
"We're out to help anybody who needs them, and they said the soldiers needed the quilts to keep them warm, so that's what we did. We went out and did a whole bunch of quilts to send over there for them," says Tina Duframe, from the center.
Volunteers say they know most soldiers get mail from their families, but the volunteers want to let them know people they don't even know are thinking of them. They also say it's their way of saying thanks.
"I respect the soldiers and I want to show them I care about them," says Lynne Vanalstine from Merrill.
"I'm sure they'll feel good when they know that somebody back home is thinking of them," says Nancy Wilde from Merrill.
Thinking of them, especially when they're so far from home during the holidays.
If you'd like to help the Community Enrichment Center get even further past that goal of 500 cards, see the information below. They'll be sending all the cards out November 17th.
Merrill Area Community Enrichment Center
1004 E. First Street
Merrill, Wisconsin 54452
Jane A. Deau, Director