By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Every year, there is a need for holiday cheer at Veterans Administration hospitals. No one wants to be in the hospital over the holidays. So a Clifton Heights woman has made it her tradition to bring Christmas to some of the people there.
Stacks of shirts, sweaters, coats and more are piling up at the VFW in Darby. They’re destined for the Coatesville VA Hospital, and Jill Siliani will deliver them December 25 to veterans.
“Several of them said, ‘Are you crazy? Don’t you have a family?” But, um, my family understands. And I don’t think they were asked if they wanted to go home for Christmas when they were serving,” said Jill.
VFW Post 598 in Darby dove in to help collect, inspired by Jill’s dedication.
“She goes there on Christmas Day,” said Daniel Rutland, commander of VFW Post 598. “Not many people like to leave their family or anything and she has a family.”
This year, Jill’s daughter Leah asked her Upper Darby cheerleading teammates to help. She said, “We made gift boxes one practice, made signs, and we’re going around to places around us that are near,” dropping off boxes at businesses and schools.
“Hopefully we get a lot of stuff handed in,” Leah said.
Last time she did this, Jill was able to give gifts to 45 veterans. This year she hopes to serve many more.
“There’s a lot of them here from out of state,” Jill said. “They don’t have family. A lot of them are in transition. Some of them have PTSD. I was raised to respect our veterans, and I don’t think they should be forgotten.”
“I wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas if it wasn’t for them,” Leah said.
The team is taking donations of clothes, socks, underwear, pajamas, and more until December 20th at the locations below. Questions? Email Jill Siliani at VetsChristmas@gmail.com
Sid’s Auto Service
820 Woodlawn Ave
Collingdale, PA 19023
VFW Post 598
816 Main St.
Darby, PA 19023
401 S. Springfield Rd.
Clifton Heights, PA 19018