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Contributed photo by Jessica Duke / MoonPies are being sold by Saddle Ridge Elementry and Middle School students to be shipped off to servicem embers around the country and abroad.

While helping students fundraise for a covered pavilion at Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School, seventh-grade teacher Kaleena Scoggins and her father had an idea.

Instead of solely fundraising by selling MoonPies and handing the boxes off to the buyer, the school decided to give buyers the opportunity to purchase MoonPies to be shipped off to service members around the country and abroad.

That's where Jessica Duke comes in. She's the founder and CEO of Friends Of The Troops in Chattanooga.

Her organization sends out care packages with snacks and hygiene products daily. The packages are tailored for each designated service member and where they're stationed.

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Contributed photo by Jessica Duke / Care packages put together by Friends Of The Troops sit ready for shipment — including over 150 pounds of MoonPies from Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School donations, said Friends Of The Troops founder Jessica Duke.

"A lot of our troops aren't home, and a MoonPie is a little reminder of home," said Wendy Ingram, principal of Saddle Ridge. "I thought it was a great idea."

Duke, who has a hand in putting together and sending out each package, said the nostalgic MoonPies will bring a smile this winter to locals.

"I know for sure [troops from North Georgia and Chattanooga] will get these," she said.

Saddle Ridge will continue to fundraise for the pavilion this academic year, Ingram said, and hopes are to have it open by the beginning of next year. It will shade the playground and offer a space for teachers to host classes outdoors.

The school has about 150 boxes of MoonPies left to be purchased. Interested customers can call the school directly at 706-375-1219.

"We're still trying to whittle our way through the boxes," said Ingram.

Email Sabrina Bodon at sbodon@timesfreepress.com.

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