Freedom Packages

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"The people at Pierce will stand behind the men in Iraq," says Pat Harris of the Pierce Distribution Plant in Belvidere.

Two weeks ago Pat Harris listened to Linda Hayes speak at the veterans memorial in Loves Park. She was touched by Linda's words and moved by the Freedom Packages Program Linda created a year and a half ago.

"I mentioned to the president of Pierce Distribution, Kevin Hogan, and asked if I could collect in the office, and he said definitely go for it and he involved all five plants, and the result was amazing," says Harris.

Boxes upon boxes of goods were donated from basic necessities like toothpaste and toilet paper to other goods like candy, popcorn and portable CD players that can instantly brighten up one's day.

"I can't thank Kevin and his company for what they're doing, and I wish more businesses would join in. I'd like to see this happen over and over again," says freedom packages creator Linda Hayes.

Between 50 and 100 boxes will head off to Iraq in this shipment titled "Christmas in Iraq." Over the past year-and-a-half, more than 1,300 freedom packages have landed on the sands of Iraq.

Pat says she's overwhelmed by the spirit of giving alive at the Pierce distribution centers.

"One family is struggling now and they were the first to bring in three huge bags for the troops. It was heart wrenching and wonderful," says Harris.

Pierce will pay to ship all these freedom packages overseas and when all the troops eventually come home they'll always remember this Christmas and all the packages they received filled with support and sealed with love.

If you're interested in making a donation for the freedom packages or you'd like to organize a donation drive at your business or school, contact Linda Hayes at 815-226-9119 or e-mail her at