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The  Family Assistance Center at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, DC issued an appeal for donations to their program.  This program, administered by the American Red Cross, provides personal items for the wounded being treated at the hospital.  These patients include all branches of the Armed Forces (Army, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard) and both men and women.  Many are victims of land mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

 

Because of the expedient method to get them from the battlefield to WRAMC, the wounded often arrive with nothing.  Their personal items are in Iraq or Afghanistan to be shipped to them later.  Therefore, the patients need many critical items to sustain them.

 

Specific personal items have been identified and a list published for donation by the Family Assistance Center.  Examples of the needs are postage stamps, pre-paid Phone Cards, flannel pajamas, gloves and scarves.

 

To participate in this program, St. Mary's initiated "Project Hope" among its small congregation in November.  Parishioners were given the list of 21 items from which to choose and purchase when doing their weekly shopping.  A "Project Hope" box was placed at the entrance of the church where purchases could be placed prior to each service.   Some community members also joined in the effort.

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On Christmas Eve, two overflowing "xerox" size boxes with fifty gifts were brought forward to the Crèche Scene by St. Mary members acting as the "Fourth Wise Man."  Cards and notes of appreciation and thanks from the donors to the patients were included.  Prayers were offered for the patients' healing.  The boxes were delivered to WRAMC on January 9 and the following letter later received:

 

On behalf of the American Red Cross, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous holiday donation to Wounded Troops and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  Injured troops continue to receive the best medical care in the world in this facility.  And they receive comfort and a morale boost through donated items from supportive Americans like you.

 

Any person or parish wishing to contribute to this program should call the Family Assistance Center at (202) 782-6362.  The need is ongoing.