PO Box 169
Peru, IL 61354
Since 2005, Kathy and Heidi Milner, along with their families and friends, have lead a patriotic group of volunteers, who work hard to ensure that numerous soldiers are supported during the Christmas Holiday.
Hundreds of boxes are shipped, each filled with beautiful homemade stockings filled with all kinds of goodies. Each one is topped off with a handwritten Christmas card and a Beanie Baby.
All branches of the military are included.
All deployed are eligible.
Project Santa was started in 2005 when founder, Kathy DeArcos~Cattani of Ladd, learned many soldiers serving with her son, Zach DeArcos, did not receive regular mail from their families, and in some cases, had no families to send mail. They knew that Christmas was coming and that many of them would spend the Holidays without a single card or gift package. Thus, Project Santa was born.
Had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh, and looked across the table where the bills were piled too high. The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix, My stocks were down another point, the Dolphins lost by six.
And so with only minutes till my son got home from school, I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool. The burdens that I carried were about all I could take, and so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.
I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust, No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust. And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh, eight hummers ran a column right behind an M 1 A.
A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens, Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean. They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight, their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.
Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind, To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again. There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease, They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of M M R Es.
They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see, They didn't need an ornament-- they lacked a Christmas Tree. They didn’t have a present even though it was tradition, the only boxes I could see were labeled "Ammunition."
I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side, He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I cried. I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near and kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.
There’s nothing wrong my little son, for safe we sleep tonight, our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right, to worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all, instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall.
He looked at me as children do and said its always right, to thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write. And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note, to thank the many far from home, and this is what we wrote:
God Bless You all and keep you safe, and speed your way back home. Remember that we love you so, and that you’re not alone. The gift you give you share with all, a present every day, You give the gift of liberty and that we can’t repay.
"...this is an open and grateful tribute to the men and women who serve every day to keep our nation safe."
PO Box 169
Peru, IL 61354