Founder of the program, Julie Peterson, saw the need for extra help for veterans in December and Operation Kandy Kane was born three years ago.
Peterson is an outreach worker for Bootstrap Comrades, an organization that assists area veterans and their families, based in Eagle Bend. She is a Sauk Centre native, graduate of Sauk Centre High School in 1987.
More than 30 veterans and their families have signed up or been referred this year for Operation Kandy Kane, and Peterson is busy daily working to fill their Christmas wishes. The need is increased this year, she said. Last year, 25 families received gifts and turkey products through a donation by Jennie-O Turkey Store in Melrose.
Jennie-O has been a faithful donor to the Bootstrap Comrades program. In September, Jennie-O donated 1,000 pounds of turkey to the program for distribution to veterans and families in the Sauk Centre area. The next planned donation will be distributed in the St. Cloud area.
“Jennie-O is very good to the veterans,” Peterson says.