MANVILLE, NJ - Those who say the two-party system in America is broken would have seen otherwise at Saturday's 15th anniversary packing event hosted by Operation Shoebox New Jersey, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle joining hundreds of volunteers to assemble 1,250 personal care packages for shipment to US troops deployed around the world.
State Assemblyman Roy Freiman, D-16th, Somerset County Freeholder and former mayor of Somerville Brian Gallagher, and fellow Republican Frank Delcore, Hillsborough Committeeman and former mayor, pitched in to unload a truck, pack bags, tape boxes, and serve hot dogs to the volunteers who gathered at the Manville VFW on Washington Avenue to participate in the annual event, one of several held during the year by Operation Shoebox New Jersey.
Gallagher's son Brendan, who enlisted in the Army 3 years ago, stopped in to pack a few boxes and took to the stage to praise the efforts of the volunteers who work year 'round to support members of the US military overseas. He received dozens of care packages while deployed with his unit to South Korea in 2018.
Operation Shoebox New Jersey, founded in Somerville in 2005 is now headquartered in Hillsborough. In that time, tens of thousands of volunteers have helped to ship 171,000 personal care packages overseas containing food and toiletry items collected at central New Jersey supermarkets and donation drives by schools, churches, synagogues, small companies, large corporations, civic and veterans' groups, senior citizen clubs and other organizations.