WEST ORANGE, NJ- The holidays will be a little brighter for some American troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait when boxes of personal items and goodies packed with love arrive from West Orange. West Orange Cares and the West Orange community turned out this morning at Liberty Middle School to prepare boxes for shipment next week.
The effort was led by Micky Wagner and her team from West Orange Cares, a non-profit established in 2009 when Mickey's son, Marine Sgt. William Wagner, was deployed. Sgt. Wagner is currently serving as a reservist out of Fort Dix. Micky, also a former Marine, began the initiative in an effort to provide troops with needed items from home, especially to troops in Iraq and Aghanistan.
The process begins when West Orange Cares receives requests from unit Chaplains and Commanders. Each troop member will a receive their own box. Paperbacks and magazines are placed in the bottom first, and then personal items, such as shampoo, toothpaste, soaps, body wash, lotion, wipes, sunscreen, deodorant, candy, canned fruit, and other snacks, are added. Any leftovers are packed and shipped to chaplains, that will distribute them as they visit various units.
Last year, West Orange Cares was even able to ship artificial Christmas trees and menorahs, though this year, Hurricane Sandy has prevented them from doing so. Each box costs between $10-12 to ship and shipment, already a week late due to the storm, will begin early this week and continue after Thanksgiving. West Orange Cares received donations to cover the reduced shipping costs.
Local residents, Boy Scouts from Troop 2, Brownies from Troop 20585, and Junior Brownies from Troop 22855, assisted in the effort, which began at 8:00 and ended around 10:00 am with a uhaul truck filled and ready to go. Many community organizations donated supplies and monies to support the effort. West Orange Cares!
For more information on West Orange Cares, please visit: westorangecares.com.