BOZEMAN, Mont. - Big Sky Western Bank was bustling Wednesday afternoon, as volunteers went up and down the stairs carrying 25-pound boxes.
"It was fun with all the guys" said Jude Hall, a hockey player with the Bozeman Ice Dogs.
He said that was the team's first time volunteering. They helped get nearly 400 Adopt A Sox boxes ready for shipment, to send to Montana servicemen and women overseas who won't be home for the holidays.
"It was good" said teammate John Slavik. "It was good to actually feel like a part of something."
The boxes are full of over 100 of goodies- from American food, to novelties to Montana-made products.
Adopt A Sox volunteers spend all year raising money and collecting donated items. Some items, like pillow cases and helmet liners, are even hand-sewn by volunteers.
"It was awesome" said Sergeant First Class Thomas Basolo, who received a box last year. "It was filled with stuff that everybody wanted."
"The amount of support we got from them last year while we were in Iraq- we figured we'd help out this time" said Staff Sergeant Jonathan Bough, who also got an Adopt A Sox box while he was overseas.
Army National Guardsmen like SFC Basolo and SSG Bough said getting those boxes was such a delight, so they decided to pay it forward by volunteering this year.
"It's a great feeling" Bough said. "Knowing first-hand what it's like to get one, it makes it even better knowing that they're getting them."
They packed up the vans, and made a few trips back and forth to the post office to make sure every last one got shipped.
After the boxes get sent off, it takes about three weeks to reach Afghanistan- meaning those soldiers will be able to open them just before Christmas.
"It'll be like a nice Christmas present on top of whatever they get from their families" Basolo said.
A Christmas present from the community- so those troops can have a piece of home for the holidays, and know that their home appreciates their service.
Adopt A Sox secretary and treasurer Margie Kankrlik told us that now those boxes are shipped, volunteers will begin fundraising for next year.
It costs around $30 to ship each box, and each box contains around $125 worth of items.
The first opportunity to donate will be during Bozeman's Christmas Stroll. Volunteers will collect money, and sell toy "sponsorships." For $5, donators can write a message to the troops on footballs and frisbees.
Kankrlik also said anyone who wants to add their loved one serving overseas to the list can submit names and addresses on the Adopt A Sox website.
Click here to learn more, or to sign up a Montana serviceman or woman for a box.
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