Operation Shoebox New Jersey

We have a new phone number! 908.255.4172

Fund Raising Auction of James Fiorentino artwork for Operation Shoebox New Jersey

Posted: March 22, 2021

Down, but not out . . .

It’s been a tough year for Operation Shoebox New Jersey, but things are beginning to look brighter. We’re looking ahead to resuming many of our volunteer activities in the coming months, so stay tuned and check our Facebook page and website for updates . . .

What better way to get back on our feet than to work with our longtime friend James Fiorentino, an esteemed artist who has been an ardent supporter of Operation Shoebox New Jersey going back to 2005. His iconic paintings of America’s world class athletes, from Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle to Michael Jordan and others are available for purchase through an online charity auction now open at this link:

James will donate a signifcant portion of the proceeds to Operation Shoebox New Jersey. Many of the works are original and autographed; others are high-quality limited-edition giclees.

Over the years, James has donated original paintings and giclees to Operation Shoebox New Jersey which have been sold at our annual anniversary dinner/wine reception, golf tournament and sports auction with the Somerset Patriots at TD Bank Ballpark, helping to raise over $30,000, money used to pay the expense of postage for shipping our care packages overseas.

Please have a look at these extraordinary watercolors created by James. You’ll be proud to hang any of them on your wall in the office, sports cave or family room.

On behalf of our good friend James, we thank you in advance for bidding.

You can contact James, or me, with any questions.

Hoping all are well and healthy.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey Hosts 15th Anniversary Dinner & Live Auction Feb. 29th at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster

Operation Shoebox New Jersey will celebrate is 15th anniversary of maintaining a supply line of personal care packages to US troops deployed overseas with a cocktail reception, dinner and live auction at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ on Leap Day, Feb. 29 beginning at 6 p.m.

The volunteer, non-profit organization was founded on Feb. 4, 2005 in Somerville, NJ at a meeting that was attended by local and community leaders, including Steve Kalafer, owner of Flemington Car & Truck Country, and front office staff of the Somerset Patriots Atlantic League baseball team.

The Kalafer family, and the Somerset Patriots will be recipients of the Operation Shoebox New Jersey Founders Award for their significant contributions to the success of the organization since its inception.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey hosted its first public packing event in downtown Somerville in May, 2005 at an empty storefront in the former Somerville Shopping Center on West Main Street, assembling 600 care packages.
Since that time, volunteers have packaged and shipped nearly 170,000 care packages overseas at hundreds of packing events throughout New Jersey at schools, firehouses, houses of worship, VFW halls, YMCA gymnasiums, hotel ballrooms, corporate cafeterias – even the deck of the USS New Jersey battleship anchored in the Delaware River.

The dinner program will include a video highlighting the organization’s involvement with the local Somerset County community and commitment to hundreds of thousands of US troops deployed overseas; remarks by founder and executive director Rod Hirsch, Somerset Patriots president and CEO Patrick McVerry, Kalafer and his sons Jonathan and Josh.

Special guest Joseph Bodnar of Bodnar’s Auctions, the reigning bid calling champion of the New Jersey Society of Auctioneers, will preside over the live fund-raising auction, with all proceeds dedicated to pay for the shipment of Operation Shoebox New Jersey care packages. All guests will receive a bidder’s paddle so that they can participate in the lively auction.

The auction will feature gift baskets, electronics , gift certificates and limited edition artwork donated by nationally-renowned sports and wildlife artist James Fiorentino who will also attend the dinner.

There are several corporate sponsorship packages available, which include premium seating and high-visibility advertising at the event and in the dinner program.

Individual tickets are $250. Seating will be available at tables of 8 and 10.

For those unable to attend, there are opportunities to purchase advertising in the dinner program; donations are also accepted.

Email Operation Shoebox New Jersey at opshbxnj@yahoo.com for reservations or call (908) 255-4172 for further information on sponsorships and advertising.

Credit card payments can be made on the website using the PayPal link.

Trivia Night Benefits Operation Shoebox New Jersey

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Sharp minds and instant recall will go a long way to helping you and your team win at the Friday, Jan. 24th “Trivia” Night hosted by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Somerset County St. Patrick’s Division 1.

All proceeds will be donated to Operation Shoebox New Jersey.

The games begin at 7 p.m. at the Columbus Club, 495 E. Main St., Somerville. Tickets are $25 in advance (deadline to order is Jan. 17) or $30 at the door. Price of admission includes the trivia games, one free entry to a door prize drawing, soda/water, coffee/tea and desserts. Guests are encouraged to bring their own platters of food.

There will be a cash bar.

Those interested in competing are also encouraged to put together a team of eight; smaller groups, couples or individuals will be added to fill out tables and meet new friends.

In addition to the trivia games, there will be a 50/50 raffle drawing and an auction of gift baskets.

Further information is available by contacting the Trivia Night chairman, Ryan Green, at (908) 752-3667. Ticket requests can be mailed to PO Box 1034, Flemington, NJ 08822.

Volunteers Invited to Pack 1,500 Care Packages

To Commemorate 15th Anniversary on Feb. 15th

MANVILLE, NJ – Volunteers are invited to help Operation Shoebox New Jersey celebrate its 15th anniversary on Feb. 15th at the Manville VFW, 600 Washington Ave.

To commemorate this milestone, OPSHBX NJ plans to pack 1,500 personal care packages for shipment to US military men and women deployed overseas.

Packing begins at 11 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m. Volunteers are welcome to stay for all or part of the time.

The event will also be dedicated to the memory of Linn Smith, a longtime OPSHBX NJ volunteer who passed away on Veterans Day, 2017. He was a veteran of the Cold War, having served on a US Navy minesweeper, and was the president of the Canal Walk Veterans Club in Franklin Township.

Volunteers who attend are being asked to bring donated supplies with them that can be packed in the boxes that will be shipped overseas.

Needed food and toiletry items are soap, deodorant, shampoo, moist wipes, powder, socks, tissues, lip balm, tooth paste and tooth brushes.

Also, small, pop-top cans of tuna and fruit; 1-oz. boxes of dry cereal; beef jerky; gum; candy bars; small packets of cookies and crackers; Raman noodles, granola bars; powdered drink mixes and small boxes of raisins and cranberries.

Families and school age children are also encouraged to write letters of thanks to the troops that will be enclosed in the boxes shipped overseas.

Volunteers who have a relative, friend, neighbor or co-worker deployed overseas are asked to provide OPSHBX NJ with their address to that we can send them care packages.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey will have a display of retail items, including shirts, hats and pens, with all proceeds used to pay for the postage needed to ship the boxes overseas.

Financial support is also needed. Operation Shoebox New Jersey is a 501C3 non-profit organization.
Call for more information at (908) 255-4172 or send an email to: opshbxnj@yahoo.com.

Boy Scouts Honor Founder of Operation Shoebox New Jersey

November 25, 2019 at 12:00 AM

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey, was one of six honorees at the annual Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council Toast to Scouting Awards Dinner held at the Olde Mill Inn in Basking Ridge Nov. 21st.

The other honorees were Frank DelCore, Maryjane Hydro, John Kitchen, Anthony Raffino, and Neil Van Cleef.

The event recognized the recipients for their community service, as evidenced by their leadership and interests within the community, and for their embodiment of the values of the century old Scout Oath and Law in their personal and professional lives.

The event chairman was state Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16th.

Hirsch founded Operation Shoebox New Jersey in February, 2005. It is a broad-based volunteer organization based in Hillsborough that solicits donations and financial support from the community to help send personal care packages to US troops deployed around the world. The organization and thousands of volunteers throughout New Jersey have packed and shipped over 165,000 personal care packages overseas.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey will commemorate its 15th year of service to US military personnel deployed around the world in 2020.

Hirsch is the former executive editor of The Messenger-Gazette and Reporter newspapers in Somerville and spent 30 years at the Home News Tribune as reporter, news editor and assistant managing editor. Today he is the owner and editor of the TAPinto Hillsborough and TAPinto Somerville online news sites and an assistant professor of Journalism at Rider University.

Hirsch earned his Eagle Scout badge in 1970.

Somerset County Freeholder Brian Gallagher, the former mayor of Somerville, introduced Hirsch:

“So for about 20 years now I have been the topic of headlines and news articles written by Rod Hirsch, well Rod it’s payback time…it is my turn!

“I can tell you that Rod is an old fashioned journalist who values real journalism, building trust, obtaining facts for a story – not opinion, and relishes the positive human interest story. And when you go off the record…it is held off the record!

“But most everyone knows Rod as the Operation Shoebox guy…or that guy over there with the beard!!

“Operation Shoebox New Jersey, sends personal care packages to US troops deployed in locations all over the world.

“Founded in February, 2005, the organization has mobilized thousands of volunteers throughout New Jersey . . . Rod has brought together county agencies, local businesses, global corporations, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, public and private schools, civic and veterans’ organizations, houses of worship, families and individuals across New Jersey, all working towards bringing a bit of comfort and support to our men and women in the military.

“People from all walks of life volunteer time, money, and materials to be a part of something that is wonderful, and it is because of Rod’s vision, caring for community, and never ending level of energy. Rod makes people feel fantastic when they are doing good things for our troops.

“Scout spirit is an attitude that Scouts around the world are supposed to show, based on adherence to the ideals of Scouting. Scouting’s founder, Robert Baden Powell, once said, “The spirit is there in every boy; it has to be discovered and brought to light.”

“So 50 years ago, in 1969, a young boy from Merrick, NY, was earning his Eagle Scout badge. He had friends who had shipped out to Vietnam, and he wanted to support them…. so as his service project,  he organized a supply line of care packages that were then sent to his friends and other American troops in Vietnam….that young Eagle Scout was Rod Hirsch.

“Thirty-six years later Operation Shoebox New Jersey was begun…this is Rod continuing the ideals of Scouting which he learned in his younger years.”



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

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


Thank you from Southwest Asia


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



Thank you from Bahrain


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