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Pacific Stars & Stripes, Nov. 20, 1953

8th Army Plans Yule Parties For Koreans

SEOUL, Nov. 20- More than 125,000 Koreans will be guests at 275 Christmas parties to be given by Eighth Army soldiers this year, it was announced recently by the chairman of the Army's Christmas program, Col. Vachel D. Whatley.

Ninety-five percent of the Koreans attending will be orphans and needy children. The others will be widows and underprivileged old people.

Units have used individual methods to get material support from social, religious and semi-military groups in the U.S. They have collected thousands of dollars and pounds of clothing since the program got under way early this fall when Eight Army Commander General Maxwell D. Taylor asked his Army to voluntarily sponsor and contribute to institutions for orphans and the needy.

Eight Army Special Troops alone collected more than $4,000 in a 40-day period. In one mail call as many as 90 packages including 4,000 pounds of clothing were received.

Distribution of items is controlled from the minute they arrive until they are given to individuals under the supervision of the sponsoring soldiers.

"Voluntary contributions and support by soldiers has been remarkable," said Maj. R.C. McCracken of Eighth Army's Civil Affairs Section and secretary of the Christ Fund drive.

"All approved institutions are being supported 100 percent by soldiers of the Eighth Army."

Among the troops, money and food packages have been collected through the establishment of collection boxes and contracts after payday.

At each party there will be between 2,000 and 3,000 Korean guests and each will get candy, fruit, nuts and clothing. It is also planned that each institution being sponsored by soldiers will be given a permanent gift such as a sewing machines, sterilizers and medical supplies and playground equipment.

Entertainment will be provided by children who will sing Christmas carols in Korean, perform native dances and put on skits for the soldier audiences.

Santa Claus will be present at many parties. Many units plan to have him arrive by helicopter and then transfer him with his bag to a jeep decorated to look like a sleigh.






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