Albany- Military families throughout southwest Georgia are missing family members this holiday season. A group of veterans is helping put the Merry back in Christmas by putting smiles on children's faces. Many military families will spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas with empty plates at the table.
"Yes, it's going to be a different feel not to have him here actually on Christmas Day, but to have him here during some part of the holidays makes it a little easier," said Schemika Foster.
The Foster family got a surprise when their father arrived home Thursday on leave.
"We have three children at the house and we have to do a lot of picking up from school and from day care. Dad use to help pick up and it's a little different now because Mom has to do it all," said Foster.
Which means extra work in addition to holiday shopping and wish lists.
"I want a paint thing, that you put paint on your hand and rub it on a sheet of paper," Jordan Foster, Daughter.
"I hope I get in touch with my Dad," said Bryan Foster, Son.
VFW Post 2785 hopes to fulfill some of those wish lists with a holiday party for military families.
"It's bad enough going through the holidays with your mother or father overseas, not being at home and the kids kind of take it a little harsh anyway," said Bobby Lyles, VFW Post 2785.
They're holding a toy drive, collecting toys for boys and girls from preschoolers to age 12.
"No more than 15, and generally no less than five, so we can give every kid, when we give them a present, it's going to be pretty much of equal value," said Lyles.
While many families like the Fosters won't be together Christmas Day, they say the time they have together now may be the best gift of all.
"I'm just happy to be here now rather than not be here at all," said Spc. Josh Foster, Jr.
The VFW still needs toys, especially for girls. You can drop donations by the VFW on Philema Road Tuesday through Saturday from eight a.m. to eleven a.m. also in the evenings and Sunday during bingo.