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Wanted: care packages for Native military serving overseas

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LAWRENCE, Kan. - Sherry Girty plans to respond, with either a personal letter or a care package, to every U.S. soldier who has contacted her. Girty, a member of a military support group comprised of family and friends of service people, in Lawrence, Kan., is coordinating care packages to send to American Indians serving overseas in the Iraq war.

When someone in the group asked her if she knew any American Indians overseas, Girty started thinking. "I said, 'No, I don't,' but with the Native community I represent, I thought, wouldn't it be good to let Natives send Natives care packages?"

Girty, who is the webmaster of www.kcnativecommunity.org, e-mailed several U.S. ships deployed to the Middle East.

"I just went to each one and sent a message that I'm looking for any Native Americans on board ? it just wild fired from there. I keep getting e-mails. Some of them would say, I just don't want anything, but just pray for us over here. That kind of tore my heart. They just want them known in their prayers."

So far, the most unusual care package item requested was canned sardines. Although there are specific requests for food items, books, or DVDs, Girty said "Most of them said anything that people send would be greatly appreciated."

Phone cards are popular. "A lot of them want to call home when they can get a chance to; that's what a lot of other military groups' care packages are sending," she said.

Girty says she's also getting requests for pen pals because the rumor is that personal e-mail for service people will be shut down.

Girty's goal is to provide the names and addresses of those serving in the Iraq war to groups and individuals who wish to send care packages.

Anyone interested in participating can e-mail Girty at shergirt@yahoo.com. The Pentagon is urging the public to stop sending unsolicited letters, care packages overseas unless from family or friends. If you would like to send a care package, please start putting on the care packages with your address the following: In response from Operation Care Packages for Native Americans - Sherry Girty, Founder/Friend.