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Norwich University Alumni Association To Partner With Military Friends for Holiday Toy Drive




Saturday, November 5, 2011
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Drop-off Location: Focaccia’s Restaurant
2 Lowell Street, Wilmington, MA

Wilmington – The Norwich University Alumni Association is joining with the Military Friends Foundation, a local non-profit serving military families and families of fallen service members, this holiday season to give back to local military children through a toy drive that will kick-off on Saturday, November 5, 2011 from 1:00pm-3:00pm at Focaccia’s Restaurant in Wilmington.  Norwich Alumni and members of the public are encouraged support military families by dropping off an unwrapped toy or making a donation at

“Norwich University has a long and proud tradition of giving back – to our nation, to our local communities and to our school.  And, as the country’s oldest private military college a partnership with the Military Friends Foundation is a natural match!  We are so excited to participate in this toy drive and to make the holidays bright for the kids of deployed troops.  It is truly an example of putting our guiding value of “Service Before Self” into action in a really meaningful and special way,”  said Allison Sultan, Assistant Director for the Office of Family and Alumni Relations at Norwich University. The toy drive is being hosted by the North Shore and Boston Norwich Alumni Association as part of the Norwich University Day of Service – a coordinated day of community service activities that puts our Norwich values into action. 

This year Norwich lost many of its own graduates, including Navy Seal Brian Bell (Class of ’01) in the Chinook Helicopter accident in August and Guardsman Major Heath Kelly (Class of ’98) in the IHOP shootings in September.

“We want to thank Norwich and the local community, including the owners of Focaccia’s Restaurant who are donating the space for this event, for taking time to recognize the service and sacrifice made by these special kids,” said Sergeant Major Jim Kelly, President of the Military Friends Foundation and an Iraq combat veteran.  The Military Friends Foundation hopes to collect 300 toys during Saturday’s toy drive as part of their “Operation Smiles Project” – a program launched early this year by local Gold Star Families to pay it forward in their loved ones memory.  All of the toys collected will be distributed with the help of Gold Star Families to military families in need this holiday season. 

The Military Friends Foundation has proudly supported Massachusetts National Guard, Reserves and families of fallen service members for nearly a decade.  For more information about Military Friends Foundation programs or ways you can get involved to support local service members, call (617) 733-7994 or visit


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