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For Lemont family, helping the troops is a family affair

LEMONT – Jan Aiello says her family is always trying to give back to those in need.

The Lemont resident hosted a gathering for family and friends on Sunday to pack basic items to ship to troops overseas.

By the end of the day, the family had 75 flat rate boxes and 10 large brown boxes.

“One of us cannot do it alone,” Aiello said. “But between our big family and all of our friends and our coworkers, we’ve done it.”

This was the second packing event this year for the family. They sent 53 care packages in June.

The idea began with Aiello’s niece, Rachel Palmer of Chicago Ridge.

Palmer said she was moved when she saw an article about how members of the military lack some basic necessities.

“My grandmother always told us, ‘Never complain about something if you’re not going to fix it,’” she said.

She found the website, where active military post requests for items they need.

“You realize that each of the men that are the contact aren’t doing it for themselves,” she said. “They’re doing that for the morale of the team.”

The family collected and sent packages that contained snack foods, hygiene items and pillow cases, among other things.

Palmer said though the items are appreciated, the most important thing to put in the boxes is words of encouragement.

“We made sure every package had a card or a letter or one of the kids drew a coloring page,” she said.

During the most recent event, Aiello said the family labeled some packages to not be opened until Christmas so the troops have something for the holidays.

“It’s very fun to lift their spirits in that way and give them something to look forward to,” she said.

Aiello said she hopes more people will be inspired to support the troops overseas.

“Regardless of what our stance is on the war, there are people from our country in a foreign land that need basic items,” she said.

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