U.S. Marine Corps veteran and firefighter Brian Schwitters is hoping the people of Choteau will be able to help him with a special Christmas project this month.

Schwitters, who returned to the United States in October after an 18-month stay in the small African country of Lesotho, is seeking donations of new or gently used boys and girls clothing for ages 2 to 6. Schwitters, who is staying in Choteau with his parents, Mike and Connie Schwitters, is putting together a care package for the families who befriended him during his time there.

Lesotho is a landlocked country of around 2 million people, surrounded by South Africa, according to the website www.africa.com. The country is 11,583 square miles in size and is mostly mountainous. Forty percent of its inhabitants live in poverty.

Schwitters said unemployment is high and jobs are scarce, but that did not stop several families from taking him in when he faced life-changing events. Schwitters had moved to Africa with his wife and two children when her job with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took her abroad. While they were in Africa, their marriage dissolved and Schwitters said the friends he made in Lesotho stood by him through a tough time.

Now that he is back in the United States and planning what comes next, he wants to help those families by sending them a care package from Choteau. The American embassy in the capital city of Maseru will make sure the families get the care packages, and if there is more than those families can use, the embassy will make sure the rest is distributed through a charitable organization.

Anyone with any donation should contact Schwitters at his parents’ home phone number, 466-2236. He plans to send out the care packages two weeks before Christmas, which means they will be delivered in Lesotho in late January.