SHORT HILLS, NJ - Christ Church Nursery School students in every class wrote personal cards and gathered over 10 grocery bags of Halloween candy for U.S. troops stationed overseas. With the assistance of the CCNS Parent Association Outreach Committee, the project introduced students to value of giving and supporting our Nation's all-volunteer military service members.

Operation Shoebox was founded in 2003 by military mom Mary Harper. While five of her children, and two son’s in law,  were deployed around the world, the central Florida mom learned from her kids that troops didn’t receive many care packages or mail. She rolled up her sleeves and started an informal care package project out of her living room.

While troops receive the very basic necessities like meals and shelter from the U.S. military, Harper realized the need to boost morale with practical tokens of kindness in the form of snacks, personal care items, entertainment and thank-you notes to men and women stationed around the world.

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Her homegrown project grew into a full-fledged nonprofit organization so quickly that after just a few years of operation, Harper was honored at the White House for her work on behalf of the men and women of the armed forces.

Whatever global events shape foreign policy, Mary continues her mission at the Operation Shoebox headquarters in Florida, where the organization ships between 800-1,000 care packages a week. In 2012, 114 tons of supplies were sent to hardworking members of the U.S. military around the world.