PEPPERELL -- The Pepperell Army Community Covenant is gathering names and donations for care packages to send to local military members stationed overseas.

The covenant is looking for a variety of items to be donated in four categories: Reminders from home, such as newspapers and photos; fun items such as CDs, books, squirt guns and handheld games; nonrefrigerated food items from candy to Easy Mac to Ziploc bags; and practical items such as sheets and pillows to toiletries, preferably travel-sized.

"We're looking for a potpourri of different items," said Chairman Steve Themelis.

Anything that the covenant doesn't receive through donations, it will purchase.

The covenant will be partnering with the Pepperell Senior Center to wrap the care packages for a mail-out around Patriots Day. Seniors and high-school students will gather at the center to package the donated items.

After discussions at their Wednesday night meeting, they are planning to hold the packaging event Saturday, April 20, at 9 a.m., pending permission from Director Marcia Zaniboni.

Then, later that day, the packages will be mailed.

"It brings all the generations together," said Zaniboni earlier this week. "The seniors are here. We have some high-school kids. We have some family members. It brings the whole group together and it's really nice.


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The issue is not normally collecting donations; the current problem the covenant is facing is a need for names of people to send the packages to.

"We don't have any names, per say, yet," said Themelis at the meeting. "We need some names and we need to be aggressive this time."

The covenant plans to reach out to Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Steve Egan to gather names of any troops from the local communities serving overseas.

This will be the third time the covenant is sending out care packages. The last time they had six names to send to, so each recipient received six separate packages.

Although this will be the second year the covenant is doing the mailings, the Pepperell VFW has been sending care packages since 2002, said quartermaster Tony Saboliauskas.

In the past, said Zaniboni, the covenant mailed out a round of packages at Christmas.

"Last Christmas, we didn't have enough names to mail to," she said.

In other business, the covenant is looking into purchasing a banner to hang over Main Street announcing their monthly veterans' breakfasts, held at 9 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month at the VFW. The breakfasts are free for veterans and their families. Food is served buffet-style, with eggs and omelets cooked to order.

Each breakfast is sponsored by a local organization. The next breakfast will be March 2, sponsored by the Pepperell DPW. There will also be a talent performance held called "Valentine for a Veteran" to entertain the group, organized by high-school student Megan Kangas.