Some U.S. troops in Iraq are preparing to spend their second Christmas in a row away from home. But one North Carolina church is making sure some soldiers don't feel forgotten.
The crinkle of candy canes hitting the bottom of boxes is the sound of Christmas coming for a group of soldiers in Iraq.
"They sent a wish list and hard candy must be in short supply over there, because that was a big request," said one volunteer.
Calvary Chapel of Triad in Kernersville, North Carolina have adopted the men of HH Troop. It will be their second consecutive Christmas in Iraq.
Pastor David McGee's church is saying thank you.
"I think sometimes the folks that are overseas serving our country feel like they're forgotten," McGee said. "We wanted to encourage them, let them know somebody's praying for them.:
The apple cider, hot cocoa, and candy will give the men a taste of home.
Battalion Chaplain Ben Ellington says the gifts open doors for ministry.
"When churches send these gifts and these items it really allows me to reach into their lives in a personal way," he explained.
Even practical items, like a bottle of shampoo, can make a difference.
"So they come in for shampoo and they wind up taking a bit of the scripture and they wind up end up taking a message or something with them and then they come back and ask questions about what they've read," Ellington said. "So you'd be surprised, but Head and Shoulders has probably done a lot for the cause of Christ over here in Iraq.
Pastor McGee says the church is planting seeds that will bear fruit in the future.
"It could be years to come, but these guys will remember, not this random act of kindness, but this Godly act of generosity by demonstrating the love of the father for his children," he said.
"God is a generous God and if we're following God then we need to be a generous people," McGee continued. "The Christmas season is all about what God gave as found in John 3:16. God so loved the world that he gave."
*Originally Published December 18, 2008