BERLIN - Karen Coteâ€™s third annual Thanksgiving event to help soldiers has a new location.
The town resident is hosting an event at the New Britain VFW, 41 Veterans Drive, at 7 p.m. Nov. 24. Attendees can wrap items in boxes and write cards to soldiers. It is normally held at the Berlin VFW, but that building isnâ€™t available this time around, Cote said.
â€śItâ€™s a great way to kick off the holiday season and give thanks to real heroes,â€ť said Cote, who has been using space provided by The Colvest Group this month to organize and package all the items received.
Cote started the event two years ago, when her son was deployed to Kuwait. After receiving enough items to fill 100 boxes and needing only a few volunteer in 2015, she got enough to assemble over 200 boxes last year - and about 400 people turned out to help.
Items requested range from AA batteries to fans, Q-tips and small toys like yoyos, playing cards and hacky sacks. No aerosol cans, liquid soap, chocolate or home-baked items are requested, according to a flier outlining the event. The deadline for drop-off is Saturday.
The items are all things people donâ€™t normally think soldiers need, but are forced to use money out of their paychecks to buy at the store on the base, said Cote, who visited the base her son trained at in Kansas last year.
Seven drop-off locations are available: Liberty Bank on Farmington Avenue, Town Hall on Kensington Road, Studio 10 Hair and Nail Salon on New Britain Road, Kensington Auto on Harding Street, Powerhouse Gym at Webster Square and Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington.
Cote will also be collecting toys on Thanksgiving night for an additional fundraiser.
â€śItâ€™s a heartwarming evening,â€ť said Cote of the night, which will have active service members present.
Cote encouraged families to come to see the immediate impact on attendees wrapping the gifts can make.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @CPaullinNBH.