HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Operation Shoebox New Jersey will commemorate its 12th anniversary at the VFW, 600 Washington Ave., Manville on Feb. 18 and invites all volunteers to help assemble care packages for shipment overseas to deployed US troops around the world.

The volunteer organization, based in Hillsborough and Somerville, expects to pack 1,200 or more care packages.

The event begins at 11 a.m.

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There are no age restrictions. Parents are expected to accompany their children. a light lunch will be served.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey, founded on Feb. 3, 2005, has packed and shipped over 125,000 care packages since its inception. The statewide organization has never had to purchase any of the contents that go into the boxes, relying on schools, churches, civic groups, senior citizen organization and compamies large and small, including Johnson&Johnson, Chubb Insurance, Affinity Credit Union and others.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey travels throughout the state, working with schools, churches, companies and civic organizations to host packing events.

Upcoming will be packings at Mount St. Mary's Academy, Watchung (closed event); Girl Scouts Central Jersey Council, East Brunswick (closed event); Hilltop School, Mendham (closed event) and TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater with the Somerset Patriots, open to the public.

Volunteers also collect donations outside supermarkets on the weekends throughout central New Jersey. The next shopping sprees are March 11 & 12 at the Stop&Shop of Piscataway, 501 Stelton Ave., 930 am-330 pm both days. Volunteers are needed.

Call  (908) 698-0333 for further information.

Rod Hirsch, managing editor and owner of the Tap into Somerville and Hillsborough websites, is founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey.