HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - A package filled with favorite foods and toiletries from home is usually at the top of holiday wish lists for US troops deployed overseas.

To help make those wishes come true, The Rotary Club of Hillsborough is once again joining up with Operation Shoebox New Jersey to host the fifth annual Christmas Packing Event on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Hillsborough YMCA, 19 East Mountain Road here.

Members of the community are invited to participate in this special event to assemble the gift packages.

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“The holiday season is a particularly difficult time for military to be away from home and family,“ noted Hillsborough Rotary Club President, Abed Medawar, “and receiving a package from home filled with familiar items goes a long way in keeping up morale.”

“The Rotary’s packing event is not only very organized, it is a fun event for all who participate,” according to Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey.

“We receive wonderful feedback directly from the troops about how much they look forward to receiving these packages,” he added.

At last year’s packing event, over 1500 packages containing a wide assortment of foods, treats and toiletries were assembled by hundreds of volunteers - both young and old - from Hillsborough and adjoining communities.

The individual bags are grouped together into small boxes and then into larger containers for shipment abroad.

The cost of shipping these boxes to the troops is funded by donations from the Hillsborough Rotary and caring members of the public. Cash donations to offset shipping costs can be made at the event or sent in advance by check to Operation Shoebox New Jersey, 152 Route 206, Hillsborough 08844.

Donations of appropriate, non-perishable food items, snacks and toiletries can be dropped of at the same location.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey, based in Hillsborough, was founded in February 2005. It is a volunteer grass roots organization dedicated to collecting donated supplies and shipping care packages to U.S. troops based in Iraq, Afghanistan, other Middle East countries and around the world.  Operation Shoebox seeks donations of food and personal care items that are placed in personal care packages shipped to members of the US military deployed overseas.

Requested items include canned tuna, canned fruit, 1 oz. boxes of cereal, dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars, beef jerky, small bags of pretzels and chips, small tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes, small packets of moist wipes, soap, deodorant, small canisters of powder and small bottles of shampoo.

The Rotary Club of Hillsborough has over 40 active members from Hillsborough and surrounding communities.   Members include business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

The Hillsborough Rotary serves the Hillsborough community.  All funds raised at the Rotary Fair are donated back to community projects. The Hillsborough Rotary Club meets every Wednesday, at 6 pm, at The Landing Restaurant in Hillsborough.

For more information about the event and making cash or in-kind donations, please visit the website hillsboroughnjrotary.com.