HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Several hundred volunteers gathered at the Hillsborough YMCA Saturday to help the Rotary Club of Hillsborough and Operation Shoebox New Jersey assemble 1,000 personal care packages that will be shipped to US troops deployed overseas.

Several veteran organizations participated, including the Hillsborough VFW, Post #8371, the central New Jersey Chapter #27 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Canal Walk Veterans Club from Franklin Township. Several Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops also participated.

Representatives of ACME Supermarkets were on hand to donate $10,000 to OPSHBX NJ to help pay the costs of shipping the care packages overseas; the Rotary Club of Hillsborough donated $2,000. OPSHBX NJ volunteers Sarah and Kaitlin Weber held a bake sale and by the end of the event, had sold out, raising $190. 

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For the fourth consecutive year shoppers at 178 ACME Supermarkets in six states donated tons of candy to OPSHBX NJ in conjunction with a Halloween promotion, "Operation Sweetness."  Volunteers included several bags of donated candy in each box, which also included holiday cards and letters and a variety of personal care and food items.

Throughout the day, volunteers bagged loose candy, filled out customs forms to affix to the care packages and wrote cards and letters; each box assembled included at least one card or letter.

Before the packing began, Vince Damiano, retired from service with the US Marines and US Army, described in great detail to the crowd how he and members of his unit received care packages from OPSHBX NJ prior to Christmas during a 2009 deployment in Afghanistan, and the positive impact the care packages had on the Marines' morale.

OPSHBX NJ, a volunteer 501C3 non-profit organization based in Hillsborough, has now packed over 151,000 care packages for US troops overseas since its formation in 2005.

The group holds organized packing events throughout the year with veteran and civic organizations, schools, businesses large and small and other groups. Several events are already scheduled for 2019, including the Feb. 16 Presidents' Weekend packing at the Manville VFW.

Further information is available on the website or by calling (908) 698-0333.