Many of the men and women serving in the military spend Christmas away from their families. To let them know they are remembered, on Dec. 10 St. Gabriel’s youth group made Christmas care packages for 18 military members from their Canaryville neighborhood. This is the 10th year the group has made and mailed packages. The youth collected personal care items and other necessities such as socks for the packages and also wrote personal letters to go inside, said associate pastor Father Rich Creagh. Each month the youth group does some sort of service project. “Our motto is ‘making a difference,’” Creagh said. Creagh learned the importance of service to young people while teaching at Quigley Seminary South, which is now closed. “What I discovered there was the young men really enjoyed doing service,” he said. “They really responded.” When he came to St. Gabriel, he established the youth group with a focus on service. During the day of packing, many were moved to tears when military mom Dawn Tremore shared how much the teens’ efforts meant to the men and women who serve. Creagh also read a letter he received from a grateful service member. “We are asked to do whatever the Army needs of us,” wrote Private First Class Bobby Lynch. “A lot of times this means being far away from family during the holidays. Receiving a nice, well put together care package from your youth group makes all the difference.” The young people will distribute leftover donated items when they visit Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago on Jan. 20.