In 2004, Gail Van Vranken, aka Boatsie, received a letter from her son who was stationed in Baghdad.  He forwarded a personal request from the Deputy Director of programs in Baghdad for personal items needed for troops in the hospitals.    Boatsie converted her basement and garage into a receiving place for donations.  Boatsie’s Boxes, as it is now called, became a non profit charitable organization dedicated to supporting our troops when they are stationed overseas.   In 2013, over 20,000 stockings were assembled and mailed.  A mailing goes out four times a year and will continue as long as troops are away from home.

How did Thursday Morning Club get involved?  Thursday Morning Club, a community service organization, is a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the New Jersey State Federation of  Women’s Clubs.  NJFSWC sent out notices during the summer that it was supporting this project and encouraged the state membership to participate.  The TMC club president sent out a notice asking for the members’ opinion on helping this cause.  The response was overwhelmingly positive and a Club member, Janet Allocco, who is also Director of the Madison Community House, volunteered to chair this drive.

The TMC donated several hundred dollars and food items as well as toiletry supplies and small clothing items for men and women service personnel. The TMC Ladies Who Knit group made hats that fit under helmets.  The Club filled over 50 stockings and stitched them closed, all ready for mailing.  The project began in August and ended in mid October when the boxes were sent out.  Club members spent over 300 hours volunteering their time.  Those who participated are glad they did.

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For information about the Thursday Morning Club which owns, operates and maintains the Madison Community House as well as the MCH Nursery School program and the Before and After School Child Care program, visit www.TMCMCH.org or call 973-377-0244.