This week, Sally Deutsch is beyond busy.
The Mentor resident is gathering and sorting supplies and people as fast as she can for what she hopes will become an annual project.
Her goal for the "Baskets of Appreciation" project is to provide a little extra kindness and assistance to those whose loved ones are deployed in the military during the holidays.
As the mother of someone who spent two tours in Iraq, Deutsch knows firsthand the stress placed upon not only the deployed serviceman but also the family remaining behind.
Working through the USO, Deutsch has a list of about 200 families in Lake County who qualify for the gift baskets, but the hard part is assembling all those baskets.
She has quite an assortment of donations already - so many that she can't fit her car in the garage anymore, she says - but what's still needed, more than any other gift, is items for teenage boys.
The gift baskets include anything from stuffed animals to cookie mixes, dishtowels, scented lotions or other items, be they fun or practical in nature.
Wednesday, all those items will be transported from her home to the Lake County fairgrounds for sorting and packaging.
Deutsch asks that anyone available and willing to help visit the 4-H building at the fairgrounds anytime from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, Friday or Saturday, when volunteers will be collecting, sorting and assembling the baskets.
The USO then will pick up the packages Sunday and deliver them to qualifying families in Lake County.
-- Rachel Jackson | RJackson@News-Herald.com | @nh_rachel