NORTH SALEM, N.Y.-Among those in the holdiay spririt:

Gifts for the troops

Throughout December, the North Salem Republican Club collected Christmas gifts for the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. These gifts were collected in wardrobe sized boxes placed within local merchants across town including Kingsley’s Deli, The Peach Lake Market & BBQ, Hayfields Market, The Swan Deli and Gordon’s Market.

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With the help of United for The Troops (unitedforthetroops.org) Òout of Shrub Oak, gifts were sent  to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq at no cost to the Club.

“Since most Christmas presents arrive at the military bases overseas before Christmas, we chose to send ours after the holiday in the hopes of extending the Christmas spirit into the new year,” said the press release issued by the club. “It also gave residents the opportunity to re-gift presents they received and wanted to donate. Included with the candy, books, beef jerky, socks and hygiene products, playing cards, and savory snacks were Christmas cards and personal letters of appreciation sent to warriors we never met but who have given up time with their families during the holiday season to serve our country.

In addition to the mentioned establishments, there were several anonymous donations as well, including 50 shoe orthotics for soldiers to put in their boots.

“The town businesses that contributed have been true Santas to our heroes abroad,” the release said.

John F. Kennedy Toy Drive

Aidan Dooley, a North Salem resident and John F. Kennedy Catholic senior began a charitable club called “The Giving Tree Club” last year with some friends. After the success of their toy drive last year, they organized another this holiday season.

“Once again, Kennedy Catholic High School was the single largest donation to the toy drive for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital,” Aidan’s mom, Donna Dooley, said in an email. “The Giving Tree Club organized and managed this toy drive and they were able to collect over 500 toys. When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by staff members including Laura Carcozza, who is a pediatric nurse and a Kennedy graduate! They were extremely appreciative of the efforts the boys had made.

The Giving Tree Club also sponsored three families dealing with childhood cancer, by collecting items on their behalf and giving them to Friends of Karen, a local non-profit dedicated to provide emotional, financial and advocacy support for children with a life-threatening illness and their families.

After creating the list online, the orders were filled within 24 hours by the community, Dooley said.