Giving Back

Volunteers Assemble 1,500 Care Packages for US Troops Deployed Overseas

Volunteers at the Operation Shoebox New Jersey packing event held at the Manville VFW. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Operation Shoebox New Jersey care packages in Afghanistan.
Operation Shoebox New Jersey care packages in Bahrain.

MANVILLE, NJ – More than 500 volunteers, young and old, helped Operation Shoebox New Jersey assemble 1,500 personal care packages during the XIII annual Military Appreciation packing event held in conjunction with Veterans Day.

The event was held on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Manville VFW, 600 Washington Ave.

It took only two hours to build the boxes, pack the bags, assemble the boxes, tape them shut and load onto the truck.

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Operation Shoebox New Jersey, founded in 2005, is a volunteer organization focused on extending good will, best wishes, and comfort items to the men and women of the US Armed Forces serving in over 140 countries around the world on several continents and several oceans. More than 134,000 care packages have been received by US troops.

All of the contents have been donated.

Volunteers formed an assembly line, selected food items from bins, place them into a plastic bag and repeated the process, going to the end of the line, which snaked around the large room. The bags were packed into boxes containing larger food items and bags of candy donated by shoppers at ACME Supermarkets during the chain’s “Operation Sweetness” month-long campaign at stores throughout the metropolitan area, Philadelphia and Delaware. This is the second year that ACME has worked in conjunction with Operation Shoebox New Jersey on the project.

The balance of the food and snack items were collected and donated by the employees of TD Bank at 1,700 branch offices from Maine to Florida during the month of September. Those donations were shipped to a central warehouse in Cherry Hill, sorted by TD Bank volunteers, and delivered to Operation Shoebox New Jersey headquarters in Hillsborough.

Volunteers wrote letters and cards that were included in the care packages, which are now being shipped overseas in time for the holiday season.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey has adequate supplies of food and snack items, but for those wishing to donate items for the care packages, toiletry and personal care items are needed, specifically, small, travel-size items including powder, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, moist wipes, ear swabs and socks.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey will host another open packing event on Saturday, Dec. 2, in conjunction with the Hillsborough Rotary at the Hillsborough YMCA, 19 E. Mountain Road in Hillsborough from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey is a non-profit 501C3 corporation.

To help raise money to send the care packages overseas, volunteers will also have a variety of retail items for sale, including shirts, hats, pens, stationery, lapel pins and other items.

There will also be a bake sale, silent auction of gift baskets and a 50/50 raffle.

DJ Carl Duque will provide the entertainment. A light lunch will be served.

Call (908) 698-0333 for further information.  

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