This time of year, Tina Samson is driven by a single philosophy — that every veteran, no matter how down and out, deserves a gift for the holidays.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that Samson, the assistant in the city's Veteran's Services office, once again is launching an effort to solicit goods ranging from gift cards to soup cans to help veterans in need through the upcoming holiday season.

The campaign began in 2015 and has continued every year since.

What began as a humble quest to collect socks for local veterans has exploded into an ongoing relationship with dozens of local businesses and organizations that fill the Veteran's Services office to the gills with coats, food and other household items for veterans in need.

Samson and Veterans Agent Steve Roy will be handing out gift bags, along with benefits checks, to veterans Dec. 14. The effort also provides an opportunity for the office to connect with veterans who are in need and might be eligible for various forms of assistance.

"Any veterans in this area that have needs have to reach out to us," Roy said.

Samson and Roy will provide bags to any of the veterans within the towns they cover, which include most of Northern Berkshire County. This year, the district was expanded to include Lanesborough, Dalton and Cheshire.

Businesses like Ocean State Job Lot help keep the pantry nestled into a back room inside City Hall filled with food and other items year-round.

"Big Y and Walmart have been really good about donating a lot of stuff," Roy said.

Individuals who wish to donate to the effort can do so via cash or check, but the office strongly prefers gift cards to local retailers.

Donations can be dropped off directly at the Veteran's Services office in City Hall. Samson works in the office full time, with a lunch break from 1 to 2 p.m., and Roy is in the North Adams office in the mornings Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays.


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