Buying a wreath is pretty customary around the holidays. Perhaps, something festive for your front door or above your fireplace.
Consider purchasing a wreath that goes far beyond visually pleasing and encompasses symbols such as faith, love, strength, honesty, humility, ambitions, optimism, concern, pride, hopes and dreams — all of which embody veterans.
This year, the national nonprofit organization Wreaths Across America celebrates its 25th year of placing fresh evergreen memorial wreaths to remember our nation’s veterans.
And with the help of the Eagle Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the group has planned two community events in December.
The Idaho Statehouse Wreath-Laying Ceremony is at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12, at 700 W. Jefferson St., Boise.
The ceremony is the first planned activity in a weeklong effort to encourage remembrance of our fallen heroes, to honor those who serve and teach children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.
Wreaths Across America (WAA) Day will follow Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, 10100 Horseshoe Bend Road, Boise.
The community is invited to attend the brief outdoor ceremony and then participate in placing the wreaths on the graves and columbarium of more than 3,400 veterans and family members interred at the cemetery.
Memorial wreaths are sponsored by individuals, organizations and corporate donors to ensure there is a wreath for every grave.
The wreaths are $15 each and can be purchased locally from WAA in care of Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in the following ways: go to wreathsacrossamerica.org with the Group #ID0005, or by contacting Tamara Earp at 995-1640 or email@example.com.
For every two wreaths purchased using the above group number, WAA will donate a third wreath to the cemetery.
Last year, it was estimated close to a million volunteers helped to place more than 901,000 wreaths at more than 1,100 locations in all 50 states on WAA Day.
Fill a suitcase for shelters
It’s common to see people showing up at shelters with all their belongings in a garbage bag or with nothing at all.
To help out, eighth-grader Randy-B Funk has organized a S.O.S. “Share One Suitcase” and sock drive for the River of Life Men’s Shelter and the City Light Home for Women and Children.
Fill a suitcase (new or used) with new or gently-used clothing in one size, like a woman’s size 7 or a man’s XL.
Include other items such as a new toothbrush, a pillow, blanket, new socks and undergarments, makeup, etc. Throw in an extra pair of socks because shelters can always use them.
If you want to donate items for a child, include some toys and put them in a backpack.
Suitcases are being accepted through Sunday, Dec. 18, at Postal Express, 1740 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian, next to the Fred Meyer shopping center.
Randy-B grew up in Maui, where he regularly brought sandwiches to the homeless. He moved to Idaho when he was almost 7 years old and his passion for helping others continues as he volunteers at Eagle Christian, participates in trash pick-up, and regularly brings food and clothing to the homeless.
He believes, “Everyone can have a ministry of some kind ... just do what you can.”
For questions, call 914-3793 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s talk turkey
Les Schwab Tire Centers are once again teaming up with The Idaho Foodbank to conduct a turkey drive.
Last year, the drive provided more than 600 turkeys to The Idaho Foodbank and the pantries distributing food to families in Idaho.
So help give Idahoans a meal this holiday season and drop off turkey donations at your local Les Schwab Tire Center.
The drive, which kicked off Nov. 1, runs through Dec. 22.
Michelle Jenkins: 208-377-6451