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Veterans shop free of charge at the annual Christmas Store event

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    ROGERS, AR (KFSM) — For about 50 years the American Legion Auxiliary has hosted a Christmas store for veterans.

This year, COVID-19 created some obstacles but thankfully veterans in need will still get to shop for loved ones. You can find the Christmas Store for veterans at the Rogers American Legion Post 100 on Persimmon Street.

“Now normally it’s set up in Fayetteville but the auditorium was under repair and with COVID hitting, it never got finished and there was no place for us to have it. Our commander said, have it here,” said JoAnne Cobb, President of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 100 Rogers.

Veterans with a golden ticket fill out a list and then go shopping for the family. They also get a special hand-made card from students at Rogers schools.

“If you’re a veteran and you’re in need and you can prove you are a veteran in need you can come and do Christmas shopping free of charge,” Cobb said.
From blankets to sweatshirts, toys for kids, and even gifts for pets can be found.

Normally, the auxiliary also goes into hospitals and nursing homes but because of COVID-19 those veterans won’t be able to shop, but they will still get presents.

“We come up to help every year from Cave Springs to help these veterans come in and shop for their families and I think it’s such a blessing that JoAnne has got this going and keeps it going,” said Gary Haney, Vietnam veteran, and volunteer.

One year more than 300 veterans shopped at the store getting more than 1,200 gifts for around 800 people.

Many people depend on the store every year which is why not even the coronavirus pandemic could stop it from happening.

“All of our American Legion posts are here to help veterans and it’s hard sometimes to know who they are or where they are, or when they need help, but we’re always available to help them if we know who,” Haney said.

Volunteers say veterans in need don’t have to be afraid to ask for help.

The veterans Christmas Store is open until 7 p.m. Monday (Nov. 30) and Tuesday (Dec. 1). It is open Wednesday (Dec. 2) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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