-- Editors note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help.
A new American Legion post is starting a new holiday tradition.
Post 4 in Kennewick is running Operation Christmas Magic, in which it seeks to make the holidays special for the families of eight veterans in the Mid-Columbia.
It will play host to an event Dec. 14 in which families come and "shop" for free for gifts that are purchased with monetary donations, said adjutant Allison Parnell.
The post is also seeking gift cards for groceries, gas, movies and restaurants, which can still be donated until Dec. 21, Parnell said.
"From my perspective, my mom has always made Christmas a really important time," she said. "It's the time of year I get to see all my family. But looking back, I know that my parents have always been struggling. I know that Christmas isn't all about presents, but it can be a magical, special time."
The American Legion's Christmas gift program is the first designed specifically for veterans in the Tri-Cities, Parnell said. In the future, the post hopes to expand it to help out families of active duty military members.
Post 4 is collecting monetary donations to help it buy gifts. Parnell said it has raised about $2,000 so far.
Also on its wish list are gift-wrapping supplies like wrapping paper, tape, ribbons and bows.
American Legion Post 4 was created in November 2012 as a "virtual post" to help veterans with busy lives who might not be able to attend meetings at a "brick and mortar" hall, according to the post's website.
Donations can be made to Operation Christmas Magic by mail to American Legion Post 4; P.O. Box 5545; Kennewick, WA, 99336. for more information, go to www.post4.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; email@example.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom