MIDDLE ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – As many of us are rushing around for the holidays, thousands of U.S. soldiers will spend the season serving overseas away from their families.

A group of seniors on Long Island are working on making the holidays a little brighter for our troops, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.

Surge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center was turned into Santa’s workshop where seniors from the community stuffed stockings for our troops overseas.

“I just want to thank all the men and women that are in the service and I want them to know from my heart that I’ll always appreciate what they are doing,” said volunteer Peg Galante.

Michael Billone, now 85 years old, enlisted in the Air Force at 18 and knows what it’s like to spend the holidays away from family.

“It’s rough, it’s rough but you know you’ve got so many other men around you, so you just make the best of it,” he said.

Billone says the soldiers will really appreciate the stockings and all the goodies inside, from socks to snacks to and handwritten cards.

“Some are very nostalgic and you know it’s all patriotic art,” said volunteer Jean Fleischer. “They’re away from family and friends and it’s important for them to know we support them.”

Janet Elhoff of the Surge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center works at the nursing center and her son Joseph is serving in the Navy.

“He’s changed so much he’s so grown up, filled out he looks good but you worry when they’re overseas,” she said.

So these special elves are doing all they can to help.

Once all the stockings are filled, they’ll be sent to Operation Shoebox which will get them out to our troops for the holidays.

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