Volunteers organize toy, food drive for National Guardsmen - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Volunteers organize toy, food drive for National Guardsmen

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Mimi Hwang Mimi Hwang
Captain Bryan Combs, Kentucky National Guard Captain Bryan Combs, Kentucky National Guard
Captain Sal Melendez, Louisville Fire and Rescue Captain Sal Melendez, Louisville Fire and Rescue
Some of the items donated for the Christmas Angel Program Some of the items donated for the Christmas Angel Program

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Across the commonwealth, there over 8,000 members of the Kentucky National Guard who are serving their country, but may be barely making it. That's why a campaign organized by Louisville's Service for Peace chapter stepped in with some holiday help.

Friday morning, the 7th Annual Christmas Angel Program began distributing toys, gift cards and non-perishable food to families and children whose parents are active National Guardsmen and women.

Keeping their word on Taekwondo principles, Hwang Martial Arts students filled Louisville's fire department headquarters raising money and collecting gift cards, toys and food for military families.

"We're teaching them to give back to the community," said instructor Mimi Hwang. "We've got a lot of students that are veterans and so this year for our Christmas community service we decided to partner with Service for Peace benefiting the National Guard."

"Of course with soldiers, there's very much a pride thing and they hate coming to you and ask for help," said Captain Bryan Combs of the Kentucky National Guard.

So without asking, they're doing just that. The gift cards and food poured in for the Christmas Angel Drive.

"We have a lot of soldiers and families who may be under employed or unemployed," said Combs. "When you look at that and the dynamics of a family in a struggling economy, it can be a challenging time especially during the holidays."

Some southern Indiana and Metro military families will receive gifts this weekend while drop off sites at Louisville fire stations continue welcoming donations.

"I think it's a good way to take care of those who are taking care of us, so when they return they have at least a decent Christmas," said Captain Sal Melendez, a Louisville Fire and Rescue spokesperson. "We can't assume just because they're part of government agency that everything is ok with them."

So even when it's not, Christmas angels hope to be that ray of light and giving through the holidays.

For more information about Louisville's Service for Peace chapter, click here.

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