FREEHOLD, NJ — A collection drive is under way through November 15 to support the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund, a local organization that is looking to brighten the holiday season for U.S. military members serving overseas.

The drive, which is seeking donations of food, personal care items and other items, is being spearheaded by Monmouth Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian Burry.  “I am always proud to partner with the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund — an extraordinary organization that supports our troops,” she said. “The supplies that our Monmouth County residents collect will help brighten the holidays and express our deepest gratitude to the men and women in our armed forces who sacrifice so much to protect us.”

Donation drop-off boxes have been set up at several Monmouth County buildings, including: the county’s Agricultural Building; Hall of Records; Human Services Building; Health Department; Library Headquarters and the Eastern Branch Library. Donations are also being collected at the Colts Neck Library, Marine Academy of Science and Technology High School and Colts Neck High School.

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The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund was founded in 2006 to honor the life and memory of Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, who was one of four American soldiers killed by a roadside bomb during combat operations in Bayji, Iraq on Nov. 12, 2005. The officer grew up in Middletown.

On Sunday, November 4, the organization held its 13th Annual Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial 3.5 Mile Run/2 Mile Walk — its signature event.

Supplies will be assembled into bags with handwritten notes of gratitude and distributed to military members on foreign soil in time for the holidays. Here is a full list of the donation items that are being collected: 

Food, Drinks and Snacks:

  • Tuna meals in foil pouches
  • Granola and protein bars
  • Trail mix, cashews, peanuts, mixed nuts, dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots and other dried fruits
  • Slim Jims
  • Beef jerky
  • Gatorade powder mix (odd colors preferred)
  • V8 energy drinks
  • 5-hour Energy
  • Sneaky Pete’s Outstanding Beverages (healthy oat-based drink)
  • Cereal in individual packs or boxes
  • Lipton Tea, honey sticks, Crystal Light powder, etc. for water bottles
  • Ritz crackers, peanut butter crackers
  • Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle
  • Cup soups
  • Skippy natural peanut butter
  • Condiments and hot sauces of all kinds
  • Gum (both sugarless and regular; bubble gum)
  • Candy (Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids, Mike and Ikes, Swedish Fish, etc.)
  • Cookies (Oreos, Nilla Wafers, Girl Scout cookies, etc.)
  • Goldfish (all flavors)
  • Pretzels
  • Lifesavers in individual wrappers in bags
  • Premium coffee (Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Folgers, K-Cups)
  • Coffeemate, Splenda, sugar packets, nonrefrigerated half-and-half, pastries (Entenmann’s crumb cake, Tastykake butterscotch Krimpets, Devil Dogs, Little Debbies, etc.)

Personal Care:

  • Baby wipes
  • Q-tips
  • Scope or Listerine mouthwash
  • Axe deodorant, shampoo and body wash
  • Dove men deodorant, shampoo and body wash
  • Dove deodorant, shampoo and body wash for women (premium brands only)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Gold Bond foot powder
  • Lip balm
  • Ibuprofen
  • Anti-diarrheal pills
  • Dental floss
  • Premium razors and cartridges (name brand preferred)
  • Edge or Gillette shaving gel (no shaving cream–aerosols prohibited to ship)
  • Vaseline intensive care lotion for dry skin
  • White socks
  • Sports bra in assorted sizes
  • White undershirts in assorted sizes
  • Underwear in assorted sizes


  • Post-it notes
  • Thank you cards and envelopes
  • Magazines (sports, hunting, car, fitness, people, etc.–no news magazines)
  • Puzzle books (Sudoku, crossword, etc.)
  • Comic books

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