Hundreds of volunteers work in assembly line fashion to fill and ship more than 2,500 Christmas for Our Troops packages Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church. Cindeka Nealy/Reporter-Telegram

Students from Santa Rita Elementary School and Midland High School were among the groups who gave up their lunch breaks and several afternoon hours to finish packing the 2,517 boxes that were to be mailed out to troops around the world. Rows of assembly lines and boxes filled the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church in Midland Wednesday. Local businesses and those throughout the community donated almost all of the items being sent off. One woman from Gainesville drove to Midland to drop off 1,010 homemade, hand-crocheted miniature stockings that she made for those receiving the gifts. There was more than 120 drop off locations across West Texas and Southeast New Mexico to collect the items.

Volunteers came from across the sate of Texas Wednesday to offer their assistance as well, some from as far away as Houston.

Midlander Mark Howard had already gone through the lines several times packaging different boxes over the course of several hours. As he pushed two boxes again down across the table and reached for items to place inside, he said by coming out each year to support the troops, it helps to get him into the Christmas spirit.

Volunteers, composed of children, students and adults alike joined together gratefully to assemble these boxes to offer some Christmas joy to those who sacrifice their holiday time overseas. Be sure to keep your eye out for this event next year!