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January 19
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
Kirk vs. Gorn commander


As the holidays approach, local nonprofit support group Prayer Angels for the Military is seeking donations and assistance in sending holiday care packages to hometown troops away from home.

“Operation Thank our Troops” has been hosted by the organization for 17 years, as the Santa Clarita Valley sends care packages to local troops overseas year-round.

“My son Will, a combat veteran, loved getting packages from his family, but getting one from his own community was awesome,” said Suzon Gerstel, president of the Prayer Angels. “Knowing they care about you and pray for you means a lot.”

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic left the organization without the needed resources to support troops.

“Holidays are hard for deployed troops, being away from their families, so sending them a care package this time of year can cheer them up,” Gerstel added.

That’s why Prayer Angels are calling for local businesses, community members, students and veterans to help out if they can.

Items are needed to fill the holiday care packages, as well as cards for the troops, from all ages, to go inside the packages. In addition, tax-deductible funds are needed for shipping costs.

“Our troops love getting cards and pictures from kids,” Gerstel said. “My son said many would even carry a card around in their pocket. On a real bad day, you could read it and be reminded of one very good reason why they do what they do.”

Christmas and Hanukkah packages are expected to be assembled and mailed out through Dec. 11, and winter packages are set to continue through January.

Most-needed items include jerky, Slim Jims, beef logs, crackers, gum and hard candy with sugar-free options, chocolate, smooth peanut butter in plastic jars, single-serving snacks, cookies, drink packets for water bottles and granola and protein bars, while holiday items can also be donated to make each package festive. Winter scarves and beanies are also needed.

Checks can be made payable to and mailed to Prayer Angels for the Military at 21609 Oak Orchard Road, Newhall 91321, or donations can be made online at prayerangelsforthemilitary.com, and a donation bin is available 24/7 at the same address.

Contact Gerstel to add troop names to the list or for more information call 661-799-8865 or email prayerangelsforthemilitary@yahoo.com.

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