Volunteers needed to help at weekend Supermarket Shopping Sprees Call (908) 698-0333 for further information . . .Jan. 24 Girl Scout Packing, Mother Seton Regional High School, closed event, Clark . . . Jan. 31 Markham Cares, Markham School Packing closed event, Little Silver . . . Feb. 14 OPSHBX NJ Tenth Anniversary Packing, Volunteers needed, Manville VFW . . . Feb. 28 – OPSHBX NJ Wine Reception & Auction, The Annex, Dunellen . . . March 11 – Packing, Mount St. Mary's Academy, (closed event) Watchung . . .

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

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.

 

SOMERSET PATRIOTS HOST NATIONAL ANTHEM AUDITIONS; Audition Fees donated to Operation Shoebox New Jersey

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots, along with Magic 98.3 FM and WCTC 1450 AM, have announced that the team will host National Anthem Auditions on Saturday, March 7th from 12-4 pm at the Menlo Park Mall in Edison.

The event will be a fundraiser designed to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey,an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting donated supplies to ship care packages to U.S. troops based overseas.

There will be a $10 fee to audition, with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey.  The $10 donation is tax deductible and all participants will have the opportunity to sign a letter that will be included in a care package to a soldier.

The Patriots will audition 100 soloists and small groups during the event with up to ten winners being selected to return as finalists to sing the National Anthem in front of judges at TD Bank Ballpark at a later date.  During this time the judges will have the chance to hear the finalists sing the National Anthem and give final approval to perform at the ballpark during the season.

The Patriots are looking for participants of all ages with no prior auditioning experience for the team.  Past winners are asked not to audition again as the team already has their information on file to be used again when needed.  Singers will be judged on vocal talent, stage presence and their ability to perform before a large crowd.

During the auditions, each singer will have up to one minute and thirty seconds to sing, a cappella, the song of their choice.  Contestants will not be permitted to sing the National Anthem at this time.  All contestants will be required to perform a song that is appropriate for a family audience.

The team will also set up a waiting list to provide a chance for singers to fill in if a registered individual cannot make the audition.  All participants must pre-register with the Somerset Patriots.

The event will take place at Center Court on the lower level of Menlo Park Mall. In addition to the National Anthem auditions, the event will include interactive games and contests for mall patrons to win prizes, special offers for tickets and merchandise, and the ability to interact with team representatives. Sparkee The Mascot and his pal Slider will be at the mall to entertain young fans.

Representatives from Operation Shoebox New Jersey will be on-site to help promote their organization and encourage additional donations for our troops.

Interested individuals can register for the auditions by e-mailing Marc Schwartz atmschwartz@somersetpatriots.com.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey has shipped more than 88,000 total packages to U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and other posts in the Middle East.

Operation Shoebox 2015 calendars now available!

10847813_10154991527715157_7213791508046570053_nThe 2015 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! 

 

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

 

 

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.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Provident Bank Collects and Donates Supplies for Operation Shoebox of New Jersey

Operation Shoebox Founder & Executive Director, Rod Hirsch, accepts donation of over 135 boxes of supplies from The Provident Bank.

(Iselin, NJ) October 14, 2014—As part of its yearlong “Commitment to Giving” initiative in commemoration of its 175th Anniversary, The Provident Bank, www.providentnj.com, collected over 135 boxes of supplies throughout the month of August and raised over $550 for Operation Shoebox of New Jersey.  The supplies will be sorted, packed in boxes, and shipped to U.S. troops based in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries.

“We are grateful for the support of the employees of The Provident Bank,” said Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey. “Their generosity will help to ensure the supply line of personal care packages shipped to US troops deployed overseas will continue uninterrupted.”

Operation Shoebox New Jersey is a volunteer, 501C 3 non-profit corporation, founded in 2005. The organization is seeking volunteers to help pack 1,000 personal care packages at the X annual Operation Shoebox New Jersey Christmas and holiday packing event on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Kavanaugh VFW Post #2290 in Manville, NJ, starting at 11 a.m.

Further information is available on the website, http://www.opshoeboxnj.org.
More information about The Provident Bank is available at www.ProvidentNJ.com. Visit www.Facebook.com/ProvidentNJ and www.Twitter.com/ProvidentNJ to join the conversations.

About The Provident Bank
The Provident Bank, (www.providentnj.com) a community-oriented bank offering “commitment you can count on” since 1839, is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $8.4 billion as of June 30, 2014.  With over $5.8 billion in deposits, The Provident Bank provides a comprehensive suite of financial products and services through its network of branches throughout northern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The Bank also provides fiduciary and wealth management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company.

 

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

Become a philanthropist without spending a dime!

Help Support Operation Shoebox New Jersey through the Affinity Membership Program sponsored by TD Bank.
tdIf you are already a TD Bank customer, visit any TD Bank location and ask to have your balances included as part of the Operation Shoebox New Jersey Affinity Membership Program; or, open a new account at any office and TD Bank will make a contribution to Operation Shoebox New Jersey. TD Bank will make an annual contribution to Operation Shoebox New Jersey based on the average balance in all members’ accounts. Checkings, savings, money market, CD and retirement accounts are all included in the program.

If 100 people enroll, and their combined bank balance is $2 million, Operation Shoebox would receive a check from TD Bank for $8,000, based on the ¼ percent rate. (See below).

Contributions are calculated at 1/2 percent on checking balances and 1/4 percent on savings, money market, CD and IRA balances. Members’ accounts are not affected in any way by this contribution. Your account balances are used to determine the level of contribution and are kept confidential. It costs you nothing!

There are several ways to enroll in the program. You must use the following code number: A3342. Call Anthony Franchini, manager of the Hillsborough TD Bank, Route 206, (908) 359-7004 or send him an e-mail – Anthony.franchini@td.com. You can also visit or call your branch of TD Bank; just tell the manager you want to enroll in the program. Remember to use the code number.

The Affinity Membership Program is part of TD Bank’s philanthropy and community outreach initiative, as required by the Community Reinvestment Act enacted by Congress in 1977 to ensure banks give back to the communities they serve.

 

viridian-banner

Shopping Sprees

Jan. 31 – Pathmark Supermarket, Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex;
Feb. 7 – Pathmark Supermarket, Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex;
Feb. 8 – Pathmark Supermarket, Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex;
March 28 – Pathmark Supermarket, Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex;
March 29 – Pathmark Supermarket, Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex;
April 11 – Pathmark Supermarket, Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex;
April 25 – Pathmark Supermarket, Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex; 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