Donations are starting to trickle in for the Veterans Gift Shop, including 55 afghans handmade by John Day resident Lois Wacken.
The gifts, including shirts, toys, pajamas and more, are being accepted at Mosier’s Home Furnishings in John Day and will be donated to the Portland VA Medical Center, allowing veterans at the facility to “shop” for free for their families.
Ruth Harris, who spearheads the event through the American Legion Auxiliary, said donations will be accepted through Friday, Nov. 10.
“They shop for one gift for each family member,” Harris said. “I collect things all through the year. ... anything I see that would be a good gift.”
She said some gift ideas include men’s flannel shirts, toys for youngsters and small appliances.
“Anything a family would enjoy,” she said.
Wacken was in her home Monday, crocheting her first afghan, which will be donated to next year’s Veterans Gift Shop.
She said she’s donated 50-60 afghans for the past 10 years.
It takes about a week to complete one afghan, she said, “depending on how many games are on.”
Wacken said she likes to crochet while watching the World Series on television, and she’ll also work on her hobby while watching the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers.
She said she’s grateful for people who donate yarn to her cause.
“I want to thank Ruth and the thrift store,” she said. “A lady from Burns also gave me a big box of yarn.”
She added, “It’s great. It gives me something to do, and I know I’m helping someone.”
Harris, president of the Ellis Tracy Unit of the American Legion Auxiliary, has been organizing the gift drive for about 20 years. She said she especially appreciates the volunteers who transport the gifts to the medical center.
For more information, call Harris at 541-575-0076 or Mosier’s at 541-575-0649.