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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kids from across the metro helped pack boxes Saturday for soldiers overseas, as a thank you to the service men and women who can’t be home for the holidays.

The boxes, which are packed with love by local students, are filled with necessities like thick socks, vitamins, toothbrushes and coffee for soldiers overseas. Andy Ronald, who founded the annual packing party, has organized this event since 2009.

“We started with 100 boxes and we’ll do 650 to 700 this year,” said Ronald.

After they are packed, the care packages go to the American Red Cross in Bagram, and are then given to soldiers in hospitals, and to service men and women in some of the most remote regions of the world.

“Literally they get to soldiers in caves at Christmas time,” said Ronald.

Ronald said this annual event not only helps the troops overseas, but also teaches local kids very valuable lessons which are not often taught in the classroom.

“I know we’re making a difference. I know we make a difference in the local community. I know, I see it in the children that decorate the boxes every year, and I see it in the notes that come back from the troops,” said Ronald. “I see it in these children early; they get a lesson in giving something to somebody else.”

Tiger Cubs from Pack 3381 in Leawood, Kan. volunteered to help pack and decorate some of the boxes going to soldiers this season.

“It’s making the troops feel loved because it’s Christmas time, they’re out there saving our country and they’re not home with their family for Christmas,” said volunteer and Tiger Cub, Connor Vogel. “We’re just doing this to make them feel loved.”

The soldiers will also be getting fleece blankets and slippers this year.

Ronald estimates they have raised about $80,000 in donations and cash contributions so far.