FREEHOLD, NJ — A collection drive is under way through October 16 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 Lillian Burry.  “Each year, I strongly encourage Monmouth County residents to donate supplies as a sign of gratitude to the courageous men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our freedom,” she said. “It is imperative to advocate for organizations like the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund that support our troops, especially during the holiday season when these heroic men and women are away from their families.” The Colts Neck Business Association made a donation to the drive, presenting Freeholder Burry with a check at their last meeting at Colts Neck Library. 

Donation drop-off boxes have been set up at the following locations:

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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.

Zilinski was only 23 years old when he was killed in action. He was from Middletown and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy.  Zilinski was nominated to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 2004. He completed Airborne School while a student at West Point. After graduation from Ranger School, he was assigned to the 1/187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) 'Rakkasan.'

He deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division on September 17, 2005. On November 19, 2005, only two months into his deployment, Zilinski was killed by a roadside bomb that went off near Bayji, 155 miles north of Baghdad.

The drive is collecting food, drinks, snack, personal care items and more. Supplies will be assembled into bags, with handwritten notes of gratitude, and distributed to military members on foreign soil in time for the holiday season. Donation items being collected include:

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,
  • 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 such as Gillette)
  • Edge or Gillette shaving gel (must be shaving gel and not shaving cream since aerosols are prohibited to ship)
  • Vaseline intensive care lotion for dry skin
  • White socks
  • Sports bras in assorted sizes
  • White undershirts in assorted sizes
  • Underwear in assorted sizes


  • Sudoku and crossword puzzle books
  • GoJo hand cleaner
  • No pest strips
  • Sticky mouse traps
  • Twin sheets, pillows and blankets
  • Duct, Gorilla and electrical tape

Donation checks for the nonprofit organization can me made out to Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II, Memorial Fund and mailed to:

  • Freeholder Lillian G. Burry
    P.O. Box 128
    Colts Neck, NJ 07722