Operation Shoebox New Jersey expects to hit a major milestone during the Dec. 5th Christmas and holiday packing at the Hillsborough YMCA – volunteers will assemble, pack and ship care package number 100,000.
Founded in February, 2005, Operation Shoebox New Jersey is a volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining a supply line of personal care packages that are shipped to U.S. servicemen and women deployed around the world.
“What’s remarkable is never once have we had to pay for anything that is contained in all of those care packages,” said Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director. “Every item – soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, cereal, beef jerky, tuna, fruit, snacks, and dozens of other items – have been donated by our supporters over the past ten years, and they continue to do so,” Hirsch added. “It is a tribute to everyone’s patriotism and compassion.”
The packing is sponsored by the Hillsborough Rotary. Volunteers are asked to register between 10:30-11 a.m. A light lunch will be provided by the Rotary.
OPSHBX NJ anticipates several hundred volunteers will attend; soldiers and Marines who were recipients of OPSHBX NJ gift packages during their overseas deployment are expected to attend and extend their thanks to the volunteers.
Hirsch said the goal is to pack at least 1,000 care packages with Rotary members and volunteers at the YMCA, located at 19 East Mountain Road in Hillsborough.
Volunteer packers are encouraged to donate personal care items for shipment, including snacks and toiletries. Check the shopping list on the website – www.opshoeboxnj.org – and bring along a bag of needed items – moist wipes; powder; deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, small pop-top cans of tuna and fruits, trail mix, beef jerky and 1oz. boxes of dry cereal.
All care packages shipped overseas include a boxes of Girl Scout cookies donated by the members of the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey council and bagged candy donated by schools and area dentist offices.
Volunteers will also have the opportunity to sit down and write a short letter or Christmas card to the troops; all cards and letters will be inserted into the boxes.
There will be raffles with hourly drawings for prizes and gifts.
OPSHBX NJ will also be selling its 2016 gift calendar, filled with photographs of US troops overseas.
Financial support is also needed to help pay the costs of shipping the packages. All donations are tax deductible. Operation Shoebox New Jersey is a 501C3 non-profit corporation; all donations are tax deductible.
Everyone will be encouraged to Adopt a Soldier by making a $25 donation to sponsor a holiday care package that will include a sponsor letter with a personal message inserted into each box.
“We’re hoping everyone will make the $25 donation to Adopt a Soldier,” said Rotary member Dr. Dan Marulli, coordinator of the packing event. “In so doing, they will make the soldier, sailor or airman a member of their family for the holiday season,” he added.
The Hillsborough Rotary works throughout the year to support Operation Shoebox New Jersey.
“The Rotary values its relationship with Operation Shoebox New Jersey and is honored to support our soldiers,” Marulli said.
Operation Shoebox New Jersey will also be selling a variety of items during the event to raise funds to pay shipping costs.
Further information is available by calling Operation Shoebox New Jersey at (908) 698-0333.