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Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and the Connecticut National Guard on Friday kicked off this year’s Operation ELF effort to help the families of soldiers and airmen who are deployed, recently returned or preparing to deploy within the next six months.
Operation ELF was established to provide support to military families who were dealing with the stresses of separation due to deployment, and help lessen financial hardship as a result of their call to active duty. Residents can donate to the program to show their support for men and women in the military and their families. Donations will be accepted at three locations in southeastern Connecticut.
“Lt. Governor Wyman’s support of this program is just another example of her untiring dedication to the support to our soldiers, airmen and their families,” said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus Martin, adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut National Guard. “She is doing everything possible to ensure they are given the opportunity to enjoy the upcoming holiday season.”
More than 70 Connecticut National Guard soldiers and airmen are currently deployed in Southwest Asia.
For the families, donations of grocery store cards, department store gift cards, new, unwrapped toys for all age groups are being sought. Grocery and department store gift cards will be used throughout the holidays and beyond for families in need. Donations of fuel oil and snow removal services can be made to the Connecticut National Guard Family Program.
Many of the toys that are collected will be distributed to service members and families affected by deployment during a special holiday party scheduled for mid-December. Other toys will be held by families to be placed under trees on Christmas morning.
Financial contributions may be made to the Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc.
In Southeastern Connecticut, there are three locations where donations can be dropped off starting Monday through Dec. 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They can be brought to: Camp Niantic Readiness Center, 38 Smith St., Niantic; the New London Armory, 249 Bayonet St., New London; and the Norwich Armory, 38 Stott Ave., Norwich.
Donations of gift cards of any denomination to a local grocery or department stores, gas stations or pharmacies are also needed. Gift cards may be delivered to any one of our drop-off locations or mailed to: Connecticut National Guard, Office of Family Programs 360 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06105.