Project Little Soldiers

MARLTON, N.J. - December 13, 2008 It has served as one of the drop off spots for a charity called Project Little Soldier. It's all so children of deployed soldiers can have the kind of Christmas they deserve.

"It directly impacts the children in the area whose moms and dads or sometimes both can't be with them at Christmastime so it's something that's near to our hearts," Jacqueline Pontarelli, owner of Salon Escada, said.

Today, Mr. and Mrs. Claus were outside the salon along with members of Rolling Thunder, the group that organized the charity to help the American Recreational Military Services, or ARMS.

"I think their families suffer the worst, they're home, they don't know where to turn," Louis Amoriello of the Rolling Thunder said.

Matthew Parks decided to spend all day helping gather up all the toys. The 13-year-old feels it's his responsibility to give back.

After all, Project Little Soldiers was a big reason he was able to enjoy Christmas a few years ago when his dad was serving in Iraq.

"It makes me feel ecstatic because getting gifts from ARMS made me so happy and I can't imagine how kids who are waiting for their parents to get deployed how it makes them feel," Matthew said.

"It's a big help because then I know my kids got something, I know times are hard…just to know they're getting something special," Gilroy Parks said.

Salon Escada has been collecting toys and donations all month and the owners say, even though the economy is suffering, people have been as generous this year as in the past few years.

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