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Crave looks to help soldiers with Operation Shoe Box

December 18, 2016 GMT

Crave owner Kelly Tyree invited the community to come on down to the restaurant and challenge themselves to a hamburger eating contest or a cookie eating contest for the kids Saturday.

Tyree joined forces with Taylor Copas from Farm Bureau Financial Services to put together the event to raise money for Operation Shoebox. The mission of Operation Shoebox is “To meet the needs of every hero with dignity and appreciation.” The idea is to provide deployed and returning soldiers with supplies, comfort and encouragement through care packages.

Copas said, “We put together a raffle and all of the proceeds go to Operation Shoebox. We kind of did all of this last minute, but we were able to get some great prizes put together."

“We have over $750 worth of prizes for the raffle and we’ll announce the winners on Monday,” said Tyree.

The prizes include $100 off at Brown’s Shoe Fit, a day pass to the Wildcat Hills Shooting Sports Complex, Alpha Advantage workout gear and shirts, day passes to Warehouse Fitness, gift certificates to the Daily Grind, Sam and Louie’s, Whiskey Creek, Godfather’s and more.

“If it wasn’t for Taylor and Farm Bureau, we wouldn’t have had all of the cool prizes and we wouldn’t have had all of this,” said Tyree. “The greatest thing about it was that so many people in the community stepped up to help out with donating prizes for the raffle. The coolest thing was that we got the school involved, too. The kids wrote letters to the soldiers. My daughter’s third grade teacher, Mrs. Shaw, really got them into it and they made cards. We got shoe boxes galore.”

Tyree wanted to do something that reflected the true spirit of Christmas, so they adopted a soldier and an entire platoon.

“It’s not just a one time thing,” said Tyree. “We will continue to send them letters and other things during their whole deployment. We just want to send these guys a little something to show our gratitude for what they do for us. I think that is more important than anything especially this time of year. I think Christmas has sort of lost a lot of it’s true meaning, so I wanted to do something that wasn’t materialistic. They fight for us. They are the reason our country is still free so I wanted to do something that is a little bit more special to that aspect of Christmas.”

Tyree said that they were talking about it and that it’s the little things that you don’t even think about — like wet wipes and little hand-held consoles.

“They just love it because they don’t have things like that,” she said.

“They are a huge inspiration to a lot of these kids around here. Hopefully with the raffle, the burgers and the cookies we can do something really great for them.”

Tyree said that Crave will be doing another banquet for Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 22. She said that the Thanksgiving banquet drew in more than 130 people and she’s excited to for the next one.

“It’s all been really kind of fun,” she said.