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As the holiday season nears, several local groups have begun collecting items for their charitable efforts.

Members of the Caroline Close Stuart Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution are teaming up with the USO of Missouri at Lambert International Airport. The USO presents bags containing new books and a small stuffed animal to U.S. military dependents, from toddlers to children age 10, when they are at the airport to welcome home or say goodbye to a deploying family member or when they are traveling with parents to another duty station.

Members of the chapter collected more than 80 new books and new stuffed animals under the leadership of the Literacy Chairman Lauri Henry.

“DAR is a patriotic organization honoring the men and women who formed the roots of this country,” Henry said. "One of the DAR's objectives is patriotic — to cherish, maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty. Supporting the USO in this aspect of their program at the St. Louis Airport location is just one way our chapter supports our military families. "

Anyone wanting to donate books or stuffed animals should contact Chaplain Marcy Hosty at (636) 294-3248 or visit www.mssdar.org/ccstuart for more information.

O’Fallon’s 13th Annual Cornucopia of Care Food Drive will soon be seeking donations of non-perishable canned or boxed food and personal care items. The drive begins Nov. 4 and continues through Dec. 14.

“As the holidays approach, we ask that citizens seek opportunities to reach out to others in need,” said Kathy Halstead, O’Fallon’s manager of volunteer services. “Unfortunately, families in our area still find themselves struggling to put food on their tables. With the generous donations collected through this drive, local pantries will be better stocked to provide them the support and hope they need this holiday season.”

Items may be dropped off at the following sites: O’Fallon Municipal Centre, 100 N. Main St.; Renaud Spirit Center, 2650 Tri Sports Circle; Lindell Bank O’Fallon, 4521 Highway K; Fox’s Pizza Den, 1120 Technology Drive, Suite 119; and People’s Savings Bank, 5000 WingHaven Blvd.

Donations also are welcome at the following city events: The Tree Lighting Ceremony, 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at O’Fallon City Hall; and The Celebration of Lights, Nov. 29 through Dec. 30 at Fort Zumwalt Park. Gates open at 6 p.m. Celebration of Lights will be closed on Christmas Day. Donations at Celebration of Lights received $1 off drive-through admission Wednesdays through Sundays.

Contact Volunteer Services at (636) 379-5507, email volunteer@ofallon.mo.us, or visit www.ofallon.mo.us/Volunteer for more information.

Operation Christmas Child is ramping up as St. Charles County residents prepare to collect 9,474 gift-filled shoeboxes during National Collection Week (Nov. 18–25).

There are two locations in St. Charles County where anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoebox to send to a child overseas.

First Baptist Church of St. Charles at 2701 Muegge Road will accept donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 18-19, 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 20, 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 22, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 23, 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 24 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 25. The site coordinator, Pat Moore, can be contacted at (314) 374-0550.

Dardenne Presbyterian Church at 7400 Highway N in Dardenne Prairie will accept donations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 18, noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 19, 1 to 6 p.m. Nov. 20, noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 22-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 24 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 25. Site coordinators Adolf and Joyce Mueller can be contacted at (636) 561-4347.

Operation Christmas Child offers a way for participants to follow their box by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org. Donors will receive an email telling the country where their shoeboxes are delivered.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (636) 300-3190 or visit samaritanspurse.org.