Augusta businesses collect hand-warmers for troops in Afghanistan

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Augusta-area businesses and residents are working together to keep U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan a little warmer during the country's bitterly cold winter.

Operation Hand-Warmer 2013, sponsored by CSRA Home Connections, is an effort to collect hand-warmers, snacks and other supplies for the troops. The drive runs through Sept. 30.

Organizers say hand-warmers and certain food items are a huge morale boost for troops stationed in Afghanistan. For troops who are part of the Night Stalkers, nighttime helicopter combat crews, temperatures in the un-heated helicopters at an altitude of 10,000 feet can fall to minus 20 degrees during Afghanistan's harsh winters.

"It's both humbling and rewarding when the commanding officer of the Night Stalkers reports that severe frostbite cases have dropped to zero since we started Operation Hand-Warmer," said Burt Sappenfield, owner of Majestic Floor Care. "So we know we're doing a good service for our troops."

All eight Augusta-area WifeSaver restaurants are designated drop-off locations for hand-warmers and other supplies. All local branches of Georgia Bank & Trust will accept cash donations.

"Caring corporate citizens and patriotic individuals such as these and countless others will make all the difference in the world to our men and women far away from home this winter," said Larry Miller of CENTURY 21 Larry Miller Realty.

Both of Miller's CENTURY 21 offices - one in Evans and one in Thomson - will accept donations of materials and checks during regular business hours.

Additional Donation Drop-off Locations:

  • The Front Lobby of Beasley Broadcast Group of Augusta – 4051 Jimmy Dyess Parkway, Augusta, Georgia 30909 (Donations will also be accepted during remote broadcasts by KICKS 99 and other Beasley Broadcast Group stations.)
  • Hoagie Joe's Sports Grill – 1890 Washington Road, Thomson, GA 30824
  • Joy of St. Croix Tub Repair and More – inside the Barnyard Flea Market, 1625 Doug Barnard Parkway, Augusta, GA 30906

Here's a list of items requested by the troops:

  • Hand-warmers
  • Toe-warmers
  • Arm-pouches
  • Pistachios
  • Beef jerky
  • Almonds
  • Bubble gum
  • Licorice
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cracker Jacks
  • Powdered drink mixes
  • Microwave meals
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Any hard candy
  • Peanuts, etc.
  • Chewing tobacco and pouch tobacco * (Levi Garrett, Red Man, Skol, etc.)

* "Special ops" warriors sometimes have to go up to 24 hours without a meal on a mission. The chewing tobacco and pouch tobacco helps suppress their hunger and provides temporary physical stimulation.