Carson City resident Patti Zahnter knows what it's like having loved ones deployed overseas.
Her oldest daughter, Rachel Beattie, 24, is serving her country on the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh in the Persian Gulf.
Her daughter Kristina Zahnter -- who turned 22 on Wednesday -- is serving on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Mediterranean.
Her daughter Megan Zahnter, 19, left for Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., on Monday.
Zahnter, a tax examiner with the Department of Motor Vehicles, is leading one of several area efforts to create care packages for military personnel overseas. She calls her program "Operation Battle Born."
Because of restrictions on sending unchecked packages, DMV employees are gathering goods for employees or family members who are deployed. All donations come from DMV employees because they cannot accept donations from the general public.
"We've had a really, really good response so far," said Zahnter.
Boxes are set up in the state agency with a picture of the military personnel and a small biography describing who they are related to. Twice-weekly bake sales at the office fund shipping costs.
"As soon as we get these first six filled we're going to put out six more," said Zahnter. "Because we just want to let them know we're thinking of them."
The Northern Nevada Girl Scouts are making care packages.
"We want to help the soldiers overseas and the troops and stuff so they can have cookies before they go to war," said Carissa Brewer, 10, who holds the rank of Junior Girl Scout in troop 252. She said she thought the troops would really like Friendship Circles -- vanilla cookies with chocolate in the middle. They are also her favorite.
"I think it's a great opportunity to send our troops -- even though they're so far away -- a little piece of home," said her mom, Amanda Brewer. During booth sales at grocery stores, the scouts will offer the option to donate toward cookies for troops, rather than buying a box for yourself.
The program is organized by the Girl Scouts of Northern Nevada and area troops are participating, she said. Scouts from Troop 252 will be at Safeway, 2035 N. Carson St., from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday and from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross is participating in the Armed Forces Emergency Services program, which is designed to provide moral support for troops.
"Being a former military man I think it's outstanding," said Jim Utterback, director of emergency services with the chapter. He served with the Marine Corps for 22 years.
Starting with personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, sunscreen, razors and hand lotion, his chapter will announce new needs every two weeks as they change.
Utterback also visits military bases to talk with deploying troops about the services offered by the Red Cross.
"It makes me feel at home, I'm just an old war horse," he said of his visits to the bases. "Get me on a base and I'm as happy as a pig in a slop chute."
YOU CAN HELP
Donate items and money for shipping costs to the Red Cross at:
The Sierra Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross
1190 Corporate Blvd.
Reno, NV 89502
or donate to the Northern Nevada Girl Scouts cookies overseas program at both sales: Safeway, 2035 N. Carson St., from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday and from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday