For the seventh straight year, Patti Jones is spearheading Operation G.R.I.TS. (Gifts Raised in the South) to send care packages to soldiers overseas in time for Christmas.

In 2010, G.R.I.T.S. mailed a shipment of 325 boxes full of gifts and other items to soldiers stationed in Iraq.

“It’s gotten bigger each year,” Jones said.

Jones, who works for Reed Insurance, uses the Reed Integra Insurance office as Operation G.R.I.T.S. headquarters, allowing community members to drop off donations even the night before shipment.

Jones said the goal of Operation G.R.I.T.S., whose board members are all voluntary and receive no money, is to show appreciation for the service of those in our military who are deployed overseas.

This year, care packages will be sent to SSG Dustin Thompson, who is the husband of Jenny Gremillion Thompson  of Ferriday. Care boxes will also be sent to Nathan Bozeman of Vidalia and Jacob Pender of Natchez.

Anyone interested in making up a box that includes toiletries, snacking foods, powered drank mix singles, condiments, or coffee to tea variables and other such items besides canned vegetables can pick a box up at Reed Insurance in Vidalia or Ferriday, Delta Bank, United Mississippi Bank, Concordia Chamber of Commerce in Vidalia, Concordia Bank in Monterey or the Concordia Parish Sub-Station in Monterey, or by contacting Reed at 601-807-6470 .

Jones said she will also be dropping boxes off at schools, and will be accepting donations for shipping.

Check out the Facebook page at Operation GRITS for Soldiers or the Web site at

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