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Local teen creating a family for overseas troops through her annual donations

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ENDWELL (WBNG) -- 16-year-old Ariana Westbrook is continuing her tradition to send care packages to soldiers overseas who may not have a family to look out for them.

Giving back during the holiday season has been a tradition in the Westbrook family for four years now. Their oldest daughter, Ariana, started collecting donations for care packages after sending a package to her cousin who is in the Marines.
"There's so many people enlisted in the military and all the armed forces who don't have family or the support that our family does," said Westbrook.

From hygiene products to fun games to snacks that remind everyone of home, Ariana says her community church and complete strangers helped step up to the plate this year to raise more than last year. She also credits the success to her family, including her parents and two younger sisters who helped pull everything together.

Ariana says she hopes this tradition in her family will make a difference in a soldier's life, even if it is simply bringing a smile to their face.

"They don't get their families for the holidays. Instead, they are risking their lives and fighting for our lives to make sure we're okay," said Westbrook. "I really hope that they're able to get a good use out of everything we send every year."

Ariana says she hopes to turn her tradition into a non-profit organization before next year.

Anne Sparaco

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