Giving Back

Show Some Love to US Troops Overseas: Help Assemble Care Packages Feb. 10

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Members of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team pitched in to help pack boxes at last year's anniversary packing event in Manville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Volunteers on the assembly line filling bags with snack/food items and personal care items. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Care packages being prepared for shipment overseas. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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OPSHBX NJ care packages are stacked up and ready to be filled. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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OPSHBX NJ care packages are loaded up and ready to be wheeled out the truck. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Several hundred volunteers turned out to help assemble care packages for US troops deployed overseas at the Manville VFW last February. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Donated supplies waiting to be unloaded at the Manville VFW.
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Members of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights sign their well wishes on a banner that was folded up and shipped overseas last year. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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MANVILLE, NJ - Volunteers are invited to join Operation Shoebox New Jersey staff to commemorate its 13th anniversary Feb. 10 and help assemble personal care packages for shipment to U.S. troops in the Mideast and around the world.

The packing event will be at the Walter Kavanaugh VFW Post #2290, 600 Washington Ave., Manville, with registration at 10:30 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies. Packing begins at 11 a.m. A light lunch will be provided.

OPSHBX NJ expects to pack 1,000 boxes during the event; since its first packing event in 2005, tens of thousands of volunteers have helped assemble and ship 136,000 care packages overseas.

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Volunteer packers are encouraged to donate personal care items for shipment, including snacks and toiletries. Check the shopping list on the website and bring along a bag of needed items.

The packing is dedicated in the memory of Linn Smith, a Navy veteran of the Cold War, president of the Canal Walk Veterans Club in Franklin and a valued OPSHBX NJ volunteer. He died suddenly on Veterans Day 2016.

The packages sent overseas will include cans of tuna, cans of fruit, trail mix, beef jerky, gum, candy, granola bars, powdered drink mixes, coffee, tea, oatmeal, hot chocolate, toothpaste, tooth brushes, ear swabs, moist wipes, sun block, eye drops, soap, shampoo, socks, stationary, envelopes, pens, batteries and other items. The majority of the supplies were donated by employees of TD Bank at 1,300 offices from Maine to Florida.

Each box will also contain Valentine's Day greetings from students at several schools hand-delivered to OPSHBX NJ headquarters over the past month; inside each package will be several bags of candy donated by shoppers at ACME Supermarkets.

Volunteers will also have the opportunity to sit down and write a short letter or card to the troops; all cards and letters will be inserted into the boxes. We'll also add stuffed animals and other gift items.

Financial support is also needed to help pay the costs of shipping the packages. Each box costs a minimum of $25 to ship overseas. All donations are tax deductible.

Call Operation Shoebox New Jersey headquarters at (908) 698-0333 for further information or check the website at www.opshoeboxnj.org for more volunteer opportunities.

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