HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The annual holiday drive to support Connecticut military families is now in motion.

For the 16th year, donations of gift cards for grocery and department stores, gas stations, home goods stores and pharmacies are being collected for Operation ELF.

Donations of fuel oil, snow removal and home maintenance services, new winter clothing and unwrapped toys are also being accepted by the Connecticut National Guard Service Member and Family Support Center.

More than 400 Connecticut National Guard members are in the deployment cycle, which means they just returned from deployment, are currently deployed or are scheduled to be deployed soon. Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman says Operation ELF helps ease the burden of deployments on families.

Information about how to make a donation can be found on Operation ELF’s website.

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