BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — With hundreds of thousands of Americans deployed overseas, many of them often miss out on spending time with their families during the holidays.

That’s why The Dog Tag Café, located in the Crossroads Mall in Beckley, is partnering with Pastor Becky Maynor to Adopt a Soldier.

Food, snacks and even toiletries are collected and packed into specially marked boxes and shipped to soldiers currently deployed.

For many soldiers, these boxes mean a lot, especially those who might not have anyone to support them.

“These things right here, these boxes, are a great way to boast morale for guys that are sitting over there,” said Charles Stewart, co-owner of the Dog Tag Café. “And people don’t realize that, you know, everybody thinks that, well this guy’s got a family member. There’s a lot of troops that don’t have family members so there are a lot of soldiers that are sitting overseas that don’t have anybody to send them anything. So that’s what we really want to make sure that we have something for everybody when they’re over there.”

The boxes used for Adopt A Soldier can be picked up from any United States Post Office or if you just want to send items that go in the boxes, those can be dropped off at the Dog Tag Café.

However, there are some items that should never be sent overseas.

“Now there are things we don’t want to send over there,” said Stewart. “Of course, you never want to send any tobacco products through the mail, overseas. That’s a big red flag, big no-no. Don’t send any type of real, chocolate or anything that’s going to melt, has a really low melting point because when I was in Iraq, I received a bag of jelly beans that were just one big Jelly Bean when I got it.”

Stewart says the most important items to send are sports drink powders or mixes, tuna, beef jerky and granola bars.

Boxes will be made and sent to between 24 and 30 members of a unit.

The final day to drop off a box or items is Thursday, December 15, 2022.