Volunteers needed to help at weekend Supermarket Shopping Sprees Call (908) 698-0333 for further information . . .

Help Us Help Them

Operation Shoebox New Jersey is in urgent need of funds to pay for the care packages we ship to our troops overseas.Each package costs approximately $25 to ship U.S. Parcel Post. To ensure the continuous flow of care packages, we must continue to raise funds. Please be as generous as you can, and help put a smile on the face of a Soldier or Marine. Operation Shoebox NJ is a registered non-profit organization. All contributions are tax deductible. Make a donation on-line by clicking on the paypal button below.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey

Volunteers invited to assemble care packages for US troops at Manville VFW Feb. 13.

mikewithrowOperation Shoebox New Jersey will commemorate its 11th anniversary at the VFW, 600 Washington Ave., Manville on Feb. 13, 2016 and invites all volunteers to help assemble care packages for shipment overseas to deployed US troops around the world. We anticipate packing 1,000 or more care packages beginning at 11 a.m. Show your support for the men and women of the US Armed Forces. We hope to see you there. Call (908) 698-0333 for further information.






Todd Frazier Autograph Signing Cancelled

Unfortunately, the Saturday, Jan. 23 autograph signing session with MLB Home Run King Todd Frazier at the Freehold Mall has been cancelled because of the impending winter storm. We are trying to reschedule before Todd leaves for Spring Training next month.

MLB Home Run King Todd Frazier Signs Autographs to Raise Money for Operation Shoebox

 opshbxnjtoddfrazierpix  

FREEHOLD – New Jersey sports legend Todd Frazier, All-Star third baseman for the Chicago White Sox and reigning MLB Home Run Derby Champion, is stepping up to the plate with Pro Custom Solar to support Operation Shoebox New Jersey.

Pro Custom Solar, an Edison company that designs and installs custom solar energy systems, will host a charity event Jan. 23 at the Freehold Raceway Mall – located off Route 9 across from Freehold Raceway –  to kick off their partnership with Operation Shoebox New Jersey. Frazier, a Toms River native and environmental enthusiast, will sign autographs for fans from noon-2 p.m. to help raise awareness for both organizations.

A lifelong resident of the Garden State, Frazier will donate all proceeds to Operation Shoebox New Jersey, a non-profit charity based in Somerville, NJ that ships personal care packages to US troops deployed around the world.

Fans are invited to meet Frazier and get one autographed photo or autograph on paper for a $20 donation. Fans can also bring any one item of memorabilia – bat, glove, cap, or jersey – to be autographed for a $50 donation.

Pro Custom Solar will also be making donations to OPSHBX NJ for any new customers that sign up for solar, according to owner Arthur Souritzidis.

Frazier, who starred offensively and defensively as a member of the 1998 Toms River Little League World Champions, played college ball at Rutgers University before signing with the Cincinnati Reds as a First Round draft choice. He played for the Reds for five years before he was traded to Chicago in December.

During the 2015 All-Star game festivities in Cincinnati, Frazier put on a power display at the Home Run Derby, belting a total of 39 home runs in the elimination contest. His tape-measure shots in front of the hometown fans were good enough to beat seven other Major Leaguers from the American and National Leagues.

He finished up the 2015 season with 35 home runs and 89 RBIs, batted .257, had 43 doubles and stole 13 bases.

“We are excited about our new partnership with Operation Shoebox NJ and cannot wait to start making donations in honor of our new potential customers.  It’s a rewarding feeling knowing that everyone’s generosity can help put a smile on the face of a soldier or a Marine,” said Souritzidis. “God Bless America. 

Founded in February 2005, Operation Shoebox NJ, now entering its 11th year of operation, is a volunteer grass roots organization dedicated to collecting donated supplies and shipping care packages to U.S. troops overseas. The non-profit organization has shipped more than 100,000 total packages to U.S. military personnel serving around the world.

“I believe that Operation Shoebox NJ and Pro Custom Solar are both positive organizations that support our people and our environment. Whether it is improving someone’s day or improving someone’s home I want to be a part of the movement,” Frazier said.

About Pro Custom Solar

Pro Custom Solar is a privately held company located in Edison, New Jersey.  They are committed to making solar energy affordable and providing immediate positive cash flow to their clients. Their team of professionals has an extensive wealth of knowledge in custom designing solar systems to meet the unique needs of each customer’s home. They will retrofit your system to your land or rooftop to exceed your aesthetic expectations while maximizing energy production. PCS takes care of the entire process including the design, permitting, and installation of the system to make the process fast and efficient.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey Reaches Milestone During Fifth Annual Christmas Packing Hosted by Hillsborough Rotary Club

hillspixopshbxnjpacking1HILLSBOROUGH –Operation Shoebox New Jersey reached a milestone during the V annual Hillsborough Rotary Christmas Packing recently – 100,000 care packages shipped to US troops deployed around the world.

More than 800 volunteers helped sort donations, assemble and pack 1,644 care packages during the event held at the Hillsborough YMCA.

The total number of boxes shipped now stands at 100,244.

The statewide organization, based in Hillsborough, celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this year, and has been sending care packages overseas since February, 2005.

“I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and commitment of individuals and organizations that continue to support our efforts,” said Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of OPSHBX NJ.

Hirsch noted that the organization has not had to spend any money on the contents of its boxes in nearly 11 years.

hillspixopshbxnjpacking5“Everything that goes into those care packages, from Girl Scout cookies and candy to toothpaste and toothbrushes, has been donated,” he said.

Large corporations like Johnson&Johnson, TD Bank, Investors’ Bank, the Somerset Patriots and smaller businesses, doctor’s offices, civic organizations, veterans’ organizations, schools, churches, senior citizen clubs, families and individuals have contributed to the success of the organization over the years.

Hirsch said OPSHBX NJ will continue to host packings and encourage volunteers to participate indefinitely.

“Operation Shoebox New Jersey will continue to support our men and women deployed overseas for as long as there is a need,” Hirsch said.

The United States military has assets in more than 150 countries.

Those interested in volunteering with OPSHBX NJ can visit the website at www.opshoeboxnj.org or call (908) 698-0333.

Financial support is also needed to help ensure the supply line of care packages overseas continues uninterrupted. OPSHBX NJ is a 501C3 non-profit corporation, and all donations are tax deductible.

Editor’s Note: Rod Hirsch is the managing editor of  Tap into Hillsborough

Hillsborough Rotary Honors Operation Shoebox New Jersey Founder

hillspixpaulharrisawardrod2HILLSBOROUGH – The Hillsborough Rotary has honored Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow award.

The award was presented by Rotary President John Shockley and Rotarian Dan Marulli during the V annual Christmas Packing co-hosted by the Rotary and OPSHBX NJ at the Hillsborough YMCA.

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International requires a local Rotary club to make a $1,000 donation to the Rotary’s international foundation before it can honor members of the local community.

The award reads: “Rod Hirsch is hereby named a Paul Harris Fellow in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”

More than 800 people participated in the packing during which a milestone was reached by the volunteer organization, with care package number 100,000 assembled and packed during the event.

A total of 1,644 care packages were assembled during the event.

OPSHBX NJ, a non-profit, statewide organization with headquarters in Hillsborough, hosts 15-20 packing events during the year with schools, civic groups, congregations, veterans groups and small businesses and corporations.

The Hillsborough Rotary is a major supporter of OPSHBX NJ, donating $6,000 towards postage for the care packages.

“It is an honor to be named a Paul Harris Fellow,” Hirsch said. “The recognition comes from a group of dedicated, hard-working men and women that continues to put service above self, all for the good of the community.

“It is a privilege to work alongside them and to work on behalf of the men and women of the United States military,” he added.

Paul Percy Harris was a Chicago attorney. He founded Rotary International in 1905.

The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

It was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.

Rotarians have a tradition of supporting the Foundation by honoring others.

Many other notable figures have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and Jonas Salk.

The number of Paul Harris Fellows reached the one million mark in 2006.

Hoorah!

HOO-rah!! Four Marines at a base in Afghanistan are excited to receive personal care packages from Operation Shoebox New Jersey

HOO-rah!!
Four Marines at a base in Afghanistan are excited to receive personal care packages from Operation Shoebox New Jersey

 New Jersey Heroes presents $15,000 grant to Operation Shoebox New Jersey

christie&rod12

Operation Shoebox NJ Founder and Executive Director, Rod Hirsch, and NJ First Lady Mary Pat Christie

TRENTON, NJ (April 13) – Operation Shoebox New Jersey has received a $15,000 grant from the New Jersey Heroes Foundation for the third year in a row.

First Lady Mary Pat Christie announced over $120,000 in New Jersey Heroes grants to 18 organizations previously selected as New Jersey Heroes. The grants, which must be used within twelve months from the date of the award, will help the recipients to further enhance the mission of their respective organizations through new programs and services.

“I am proud our New Jersey Heroes Foundation was able to expand its grant program for 2015 to help these remarkable organizations continue to do good work in their respective communities throughout the Garden State,” said Mrs. Christie. “Our New Jersey Heroes recipients represent such a broad coalition of causes that touch many people in so many ways. With these grants, we’re providing these groups with an opportunity to make an even greater difference by giving them the ability to improve and expand their programs to further reach community members in need.”

Operation Shoebox New Jersey, a volunteer non-profit organization based in Somerset County, has shipped over 90,000 personal care packages to US troops deployed overseas since it was founded in February, 2005.

Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director, was selected as a New Jersey Hero in December, 2011. The First Lady and her staff visited Operation Shoebox New Jersey headquarters in Hillsborough to present the award to Hirsch and to help pack care packages.
“Our selection committee was very impressed with the number of care packages you were able to send, and in turn, soldiers you were able to reach in 2014,” said Casey Mahoney, executive director of New Jersey Heroes.

“Through your community contributions, you are helping to make New Jersey a better place for all our citizens,” she continued. You serve as an excellent example of what a New Jersey Hero is. You are a real inspiration to us and people throughout New Jersey. Keep the great work.”
Since 2013, the New Jersey Heroes Grant program has increased from $100,000 to $120,000 and from twelve recipients to eighteen. Overall, approximately $320,000 in grants has been awarded to twenty-four organizations over the past three years.

HILLSBOROUGH: Auctions raise $20,000 to aid Shoebox group

Operation Shoebox New Jersey hosted its annual wine reception, dinner and live auction on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Room with a View at Neshanic Valley Golf Course.


Former New York Yankee Cy Young Award winner and Somerset Patriots field manager emeritus Sparky Lyle helped the cause with autographed baseballs, a signed copy of his “The Bronx Zoo” book and a signed limited-edition giclee (fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers) from 1977, the year he won the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in major league baseball.Artist James Fiorentino donated four other limited-edition giclees, including the “Core Four” of New York Yankees teammates Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.New Jersey Adjutant Brig. General Michael L. Cunniff spent a few minutes emphasizing the importance of deployed U.S. soldiers receiving care packages from Operation Shoebox New Jersey.Joe Bodnar of Bodnar’s Auctions, two-time winner of the N.J. Society of Auctioneers’ (NJSSA) bid-calling championship, helped sell more than 70 items to the guests, helping to raise $20,000. Items were all donated by individuals and businesses, including retailers and restaurants, throughout central New Jersey.

MANVILLE: Rod Hirsch hatched his idea of goodies for troops in ’69

Operation Shoebox celebrates 10 years and 90,000 packages

DATE POSTED: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 5:28 PM EST
By Gene Robbins, Managing Editor

Rod Hirsch, Operation Shoebox NJ

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Rod Hirsch, Assemblywoman Donna Simon and Brigadier General Michael Cunniff came Saturday to present Operation Shoebox’s founder Hirsch with proclamations and gifts. (Photo by Gary Wiesner)

When he was a high school lad pursuing his Eagle Scout award in 1969, teenager Rod Hirsch saw his fellow Scouts fulfilling their community service obligation by clearing trails and building park benches.

At the height of the Vietnam War, he had an unusual and incendiary notion for the day — to send “goodie bags” to soldiers in Vietnam. His arguments carried the day, and for a year or more he sought and organized donations and mailings abroad.

Little did he think that germ of an idea in Boy Scouting would turn into a fulltime preoccupation 40 years later for Mr. Hirsch, now 62.

Mr. Hirsch is the spirit and force behind Operation Shoebox New Jersey, an ever-expanding idea that brings hundreds of volunteers together several times a year to remind service members abroad that they are remembered and appreciated.

“We’re not a political organization. We’re a humanitarian one,” he said Tuesday. “We try to take care of our men and women overseas.”

On Saturday, working one of two annual packing events in the Manville VFW, volunteers assembled more than 1,000 six-to-eight-pound boxes of personal items and snacks to be shipped overseas.It was also an opportunity to stop and appreciate a decade of public service for Operation Shoebox. Mr. Hirsch was given two rarely presented medallions — one from Governor Chris Christie and one from the state’s top military officer — for his service.Brigadier General Michael L. Cunniff, who, as adjutant general, commands more than 9,000 soldiers and airmen of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard, was on hand in uniform to make the presentation.The governor commended Mr. Hirsch by letter for positively answering the question of Martin Luther King Jr. — that “Life’s most persistent and urgent questions is ‘what are you doing for others?’”As is normal with Shoebox packages, each soldier’s gift will have two boxes of Girl Scout cookies, three bags of loose candy, soaps and lotions, and sundry items like puzzle books and canned tuna.Every box will carry some handwritten notes from citizens or kids. This week, there were a lot of Valentines from the Hamilton School in Bridgewater, Mr. Hirsch said.Mr. Hirsch is the first to deflect the praise to the hundreds of volunteers who help organize events and continue to donate money and items and time to the effort.

For instance, Manville dentist Dr. Gary Small stood inside the rectangle of tables ready to refill bins from which a constantly moving line of young and old, big and small volunteers plucked items to fill zip-locking plastic bags with the variety of items.

Much of the candy was donated from “buy back” campaigns of Halloween candy by Dr. Small and other dentists.

“Sometimes I just stand back, look around and think ‘holy cow,’” Mr. Hirsch said. It’s overwhelming to think the idea I had would have such lasting power and impact so many lives on both sides of the ocean.”

Before Shoebox, Mr. Hirsch’s passion was as a career newspaperman for 35 years. He left the weekly Somerset Reporter, a successor to the Somerset Messenger–Gazette, in 2007. He still writes freelance and teaches journalism classes at Rider University.

One day, while putting together a feature page for the Reporter, he saw two stories about individuals’ efforts to pursue the same objective of gift packages — examples of caring, sharing and patriotism. It occurred to him that the weekly newspaper might be able to latch onto the idea as a marketing promotion.

His bosses approved, and in February 2005 he held an organization meeting. Steve Kalafer, a major auto sales businessman in Hunterdon and a part owner of the Somerset Patriots, stepped forward with kind words about Mr. Hirsch and a $5,000 check as seed money.

“When he did that, I knew this was going to work,” said Mr. Hirsch.

Today, in addition to earning a living, Mr. Hirsch’s mind is a constant whirlwind. He woos corporate donations in one moment, arranges packing hall sites in the next and checks in with volunteers in a third. He figures out when he can fill his small truck with 24 boxes and take them from Operation Shoebox’s base in the Veterans Industrial Park in northern Hillsborough to the Manville post office for mailing.

He wouldn’t give it up for the world.”It’s very rewarding to know you have touched so many lives in a positive way,” he said.Marine Sgt. Zach Sanders, a recipient of care packages in Afghanistan and the son of Somerset County Sheriff Office Lt. Bob Sanders, attended Saturday to thank OPSHBX NJ volunteers for their efforts.Mr. Hirsch and Sgt. Sanders have been communicating for a few years, and the then-lance corporal agreed to display a “New Jersey Heroes” banner and take a photo with it and fellow soldiers in Afghanistan.The banner had been given to Mr. Hirsch by state first lady Mary Pat Christie when she selected Mr. Hirsch as the ninth “hero” in her program. After it was signed by Sgt. Sanders and comrades in Afghanistan, they signed it on the back and returned it to New Jersey, where it was given back to Ms. Christie in 2012.

Operation Shoebox 2016 calendars now available!

10847813_10154991527715157_7213791508046570053_nThe 2016 Operation Shoebox New Jersey Calendar makes a great last-minute Christmas gift. We selected photos sent to OPSHBX NJ from overseas and blended those pictures with images of volunteers here in New Jersey at packing events and fund raisers. It’s a stirring reminder that more than 150,000 Americans in uniform are overseas helping to make order of a chaotic world. Cost of the calendar is $18. All proceeds will help ship personal care packages overseas.You can use your credit card and pay via PayPal on our website – www.opshoeboxnj.org or you can send a check to: Operation Shoebox New Jersey, PO Box 273, Somerville, NJ 08876. Please, help us to help them. Salute their sacrifice and make them a part of your Christmas holiday. Call (908) 698-0333 for more info! 

Thank You for Your Service Marine Lance Cpl. Brett D’Alessandro, pictured with Somerset Patriots Manager Emeritus Sparky Lyle, at right, and Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey was the guest of the Patriots and OPSHBX NJ at the July 5th game. D’Alessandro, a resident of Verona, returned home from a deployment in Afghanistan earlier this year and is working on establishing a non-profit organization, BackpacksforVets that will help homeless veterans.

 

Thank you from Southwest Asia

SONY DSC

Along with the rest of the crew of USCGC MAUI, we would like to extend our warmest thank you to everyone who was involved in sending us so many care packages! On a year-long deployment, your packages, thoughts, and support are most heartily welcomed. The candy and cookies are always a morale booster, and in an area with high winds, sand, and of course, the salty seas, the body wash and moisturizer all went very quickly.

We hope everyone is safe and healthy back at home, making preparations for Halloween! It is an honor and privilege to serve.
Fair Winds and Following Seas,
LTJG Jamie Kim
Executive Officer
USCGC Maui (WPB-1304)
Patrol Forces Southwest Asia

Shopping Sprees

Nov. 7, Saturday, ShopRite, Elizabeth Avenue, Somerset
Nov. 14, Saturday, Stop&Shop, Route 31, Flemington
Nov. 15, Sunday, Stop&Shop, Route 31, Flemington
Nov. 21, Saturday, ShopRite, Route 22, Branchburg
Nov. 22, Sunday, ShopRite, Route 22, Branchburg
Dec. 6, Saturday, Stop&Shop, Route 206, Raritan
Dec. 7, Sunday, Stop&Shop, Route 206, Raritan
View More

Recent Packings

Oct. 7 – The IT Shared Services Regulatory Compliance team at the Johnson&Johnson facility in Raritan joined OPSHBXNJ  volunteers to pack 75 personal care packages.
Oct. 6 – Employees at the Johnson&Johnson Consumer Products facility in Montgomery helped pack 100 care packages for shipment overseas.
Sept. 27 – Girl Scouts from the Heart of New Jersey Council helped Operation Shoebox New Jersey volunteers pack 500 personal care packages for shipment overseas at the National Guard Armory in Franklin.
View More

 

Thank you from Bahrain

1501168_10202633312492639_410666535_o

I wanted to say thank you so much to Troop 489- Brothers Ben and Sam Elliott as well as their parents Rob and Shelly Elliott, My fellow Girl Scouts in Service Unit 72, Fire Company #2 in Hillsborough NJ, and your community that donated items for the care package myself and fellow brothers and sisters in arms received!! We are very thankful; you made smiles come across all our faces as we head into these holidays abroad.
A special thank you to Ben, Orchard Hill Elementary School, Mrs. Kotch’s 1st Grade class. Ben please be on the look out for my card to you and your classmates :); Ava and the Basilone family, thank you for your heartfelt wishes; Makensie we love you too; Alexa Ramirez thank you for your kindness; Selina C. thank you for the drawing it is on my desk :); and I received another drawing with no name but to that special little someone thank you. I will send a photo of my staff and collection of cards afterwards.
Your gift was a true touch and we can’t thank you enough. Happy holidays and remain safe. Until we write again
Rachel Singh, PS2 USN Bahrai