Gift Collection for Troops

A South Riding woman is collecting food and gifts to send as holiday presents to members of the U.S. military in Iraq and to those receiving care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center.

Mary Hacker has a nephew who served in Iraq, and her two brothers served in Vietnam. But it wasn't until the husband of one of her best friends went to Iraq that Hacker decided to take up a collection. "People really want to do stuff; they just don't know how to do it," she said.

Hacker has already shipped two boxes of gifts to Iraq, and the deadline for a donation for her second shipment is Monday. Gifts for service members at Walter Reed and the naval hospital are being accepted continuously.

Needed items include holiday decorations, hot-beverage packets, handheld games, personal hygiene products, dried fruit, individually wrapped candy and beef jerky, writing materials and new or used books, magazines, CDs and DVDs.

Those who can sew are being asked to make specialized clothing for soldiers who have lost limbs or undergone surgery. For information on sewing opportunities, visit sewmuchcomfort.org/soldiers.html.

For more information or to schedule a donation pickup, call 703-327-4919 or send an e-mail to malida@verizon.net.

World AIDS Day Program

World AIDS Day will be observed tonight at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center with a program of music and speeches.

The speakers participating in "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise" include the Rev. Herbert Love of Providence Baptist Church, and music will be provided by Scottie Edwards and Rebekah Hanover of Crossroads United Methodist Church and by Teresa Watkins.

The event starts at 7 p.m. at 50 Ida Lee Dr., Leesburg. For more information, call 703-771-5820.

Promoting Cat Adoption

Anyone adopting a cat from the Loudoun County animal shelter in December will be offered a second cat adoption at no cost. The promotion is designed to highlight cats' tendency to do better when they live with other cats.

The incentive is valid until Dec. 31 and covers adoption fees and the cost of spaying or neutering. The adopter also will receive a holiday stocking filled with toys for the cat.

The shelter is at 39820 Charles Town Pike, Waterford.

For more information, call 703-777-0406, send an e-mail to animals@loudoun.gov or visit www.loudoun.gov/animals.

County Rescuers in W.Va.

Loudoun County fire and rescue workers joined more than 200 firefighters early Sunday in battling a blaze that covered about 150 acres in northeastern West Virginia, a county spokesman said Monday.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. in Jefferson County. The fire was mostly contained by Sunday night.

No damage was reported, and the cause was being investigated.

Benefit for Katrina Victims

Project Virginia Cares, a charity launched by Loudoun Medical Group and the Loudoun Foundation in the aftermath Hurricane Katrina, raised more than $62,000 in its first major fundraiser.

Proceeds from the benefit at Raspberry Plain in Leesburg last month will aid the organization's efforts in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Project Virginia Cares has financed a medical program and a tent school in the Gulf Coast community.

Purcellville Seeking Slogan

Purcellville is seeking logo and slogan ideas for the town's centennial celebration in 2008. The winning logo or slogan will be used on brochures and other marketing material.

Entries should be submitted in PDF format to cherman@town.purcellville.va.us or to the Town Office, 130 E. Main St., Purcellville, Va. 20132. The deadline for entries is 4 p.m. on Jan. 6. For more information, call 540-338-7421.

-- Compiled by

ARIANNE ARYANPUR