SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Memorial Middle School's Community Cares Club is undertaking a new endeavor in 2016. They are adopting a troop in Afghanistan.

The troop that the middle schoolers have decided to take under their wing are an 11-soldier unit that is currently housed in what used to be an abandoned base. They will be living with extremely limited resources for the next seven months. Their main source of food will be MREs.

MREs are Meal, Ready to Eat. They are food rations that soldiers eat when they are in the field or when regular food facilities are unavailabe. Their only means to cook meals at the base is a two-quart crock pot.

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The Community Cares Club is asking residents to help them with their philanthropic project by donating one or more of the following items:

  • canned or freeze dried beef or chicken
  • kidney beans
  • salsa
  • powdered chili mix
  • rice
  • powdered butter
  • whole bean dark roast coffee
  • dehydrated soups
  • drink mixes
  • dry baked goods
  • other non-perishable food items
  • "pampering" products like hand lotions

Monetary donations are also welcome. They will be used to help defer the cost of shipping the care packages overseas.

Collection bins will be placed in the main office of all four schools in the Spotswood School District from Tuesday, January 19 through Friday, February 19.

Questions about the project can be directed to Katherine Shkolar at 732-723-2230 or kshkolar@spsd.us. Shkolar is the nurse at the Memorial Middle School.

Earlier this year, Memorial's Community Cares Club collected donations for the Alice's Cup food pantry on Main Street, which assists Middlesex County residents in need.