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Auxiliary collecting gifts for veterans
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MONTICELLO - The Monticello American Legion Auxiliary Unit #256 is sponsoring a VA Gift Shop project to benefit the hospitalized veteran patients at the Middleton Veterans Administration Hospital.

Patients at the VA Hospital come from around the country, and many stay for extended periods of time. Some are not able to see family due to distance or lack of transportation. Some have no family or friends, and some are homeless. The Auxiliary is asking the public to donate gifts to ensure that hospitalized veterans receive Christmas gifts this year.

The cost of gift items should range between $1 and $10 each. The gift items most requested and suggested include: small personal care products, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving cream, tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, lotions and combs or brushes; clothing, such as socks, size medium to 3XL sweat pants, hats, mittens or gloves; food and gas gift cards; board games, puzzles, search-a-word and large-print crossword books, books and CDs; bagged candy; craft and hobby supplies; and note paper, stationery and forever stamps.

There also are VA patients who are unable to leave the hospital to shop for their families; holiday visits would be more satisfying if those veterans had gifts to give. The following are suggestions for children's gifts: puzzles, board games, toys, dolls and action figures. Suggestions for women's gifts include: food or gas gift cards, prepaid calling cards, mittens, scarves, lotions and boxed candy.

The Auxiliary has placed red and green decorated VA Gift Shop donation barrels at the Monticello Francois Oil Gas Station on Highway 69 and at Gempeler Supermarket on Main Street in Monticello. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 19. Unwrapped items are preferred. If an item is gift-wrapped, attach a removable note with what is inside. Volunteers at the VA Hospital will select which gift to deliver to each hospitalized veteran. For more information, call Barbara Unke at 608-938-4682.