ANSBACH, Germany -- Soldiers and Family members from 12th Combat Aviation Brigade came together to collect gifts for the Diakonie Neuendettelsau Orphanage and food items for the Landstuhl Fisher House, Nov. 20-22, here, at the Ansbach AAFES Post Exchange and Commissary.

Over 50 Soldiers and Family members spent three days collecting donations from a gracious community in an effort to help these two organizations. This year's "Gifts from the Griffins" is a split charity drive that will provide upwards of 500 toys and 3,000 household items ranging from bottles of mouthwash, to tabletop fans and everything in between.

"With 100 children (from the orphanage) that's five toys per child on Christmas morning, it's going to be great for them," said Staff Sgt. J Drake, charity torch bearer and executive assistant to the brigade commander for 12th CAB. "During last year's drive, the looks on the kids' faces and the happiness it brought when they saw the toys, was all the motivation needed to do this."

This is the 3rd consecutive year that 12th CAB has provided gifts and food items for the Diakonie Neuendettelsau Orphanage and Landstuhl Fisher House. Each year, the hard work by the volunteers and outpouring from the Ansbach community are welcomed with open arms, by eager children and adults alike. All donations collected will be organized and sorted for delivery in early December, just in time for Christmas.

The Diakonie Neuendettelsau Orphanage was founded by the Reverend Wilhelm Löhe in 1854 as an institute for deaconesses. It is one of today's major independent Christian institutions for social welfare work in Germany and the biggest such enterprise in Bavaria, with approximately 100 orphaned children.

The Landstuhl Fisher House provides a "home away from home" for families and patients receiving medical care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany. Families served are from all branches of service throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

"Participating in and directly affecting someone's life, that's magic," concluded Drake.