The Riley Road Mini-Mall food court filled up quickly, Oct. 25. It may seem a bit early, but the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is gearing up for the upcoming holiday season. Each year AAFES provides the wrapping paper, and a variety of units and organizations provide the tape, bows and talent for holiday gift wrap fundraising.
Contributions for gift wrapping services are at the customers discretion.
Hopeful participants put their registration into a communal box. AFFES representatives then picked two children from the crowd to assist in drawing names. Madden Harris, three, and Lena Ziglar, five, pulled names from a box.
Gavin Geary, four, and Isabella Feeley, six, and Isaac Feeley, four, played with plastic construction toys and books as their moms waited to claim spots for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division on both the company and battalion levels.
After hearing their names called, unit and organization representatives moved to the front of the food court and marked out a time slot for their group to gift wrap and fundraise.
All qualified organizations could pick from North or South Post Exchange, with dates ranging from Nov. 20 to Christmas Eve.
Over the last few years competition for these fundraising opportunities have been heating up.
“Last year was the first year where there were no extra slots available,” explained Alexandra Dewberry, secretary to general manager, Fort Bragg Exchange, public affairs officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service.