HILLSBOROUGH: Operation Shoebox hits No. 100,000 package for troops

On Saturday, hundreds of community members came to the Hillsborough YMCA to participate in the annual holiday gift packing event organized by Operation Shoebox and the Hillsborough Rotary.
As a result, about 1,640 boxes of toiletries and food items will be shipped to American troops serving abroad as a reminder that they are not forgotten at this time of the year.
The boxes hold personal care items, snacks and toiletries. Often they hold Girl Scout cookies, bagged Halloween candy donated by area dentist offices and schools, cans of tuna or fruit, trail mix, gum, powdered drink mixes, oatmeal, toothpaste, toothbrushes, ear swabs, moist wipes, sun block, eye drops, soap, shampoo, stationery, envelopes, pens and batteries.
Volunteers often write short letters or cards to be inserted into the boxes, along with stuffed animals and other gift items for the troops to hand out to young Iraqi and Afghan youngsters.
Operation Shoebox reached a milestone in packing its 100,000th box of goodies to be sent to troops serving overseas.
Rod Hirsch, executive director of Operation Shoebox, dedicated the box to Sue DeChirico, the deceased wife of Marine Sgt. Patrick DeChirico, of Delaware Township, who attended Saturday in full dress uniform. The sergeant has compiled 43 years of service and is a regional coordinator of the Marines’ Toys for Tots program.
Mr. Hirsch called Ms. DeChirico, a “very special lady who we loved a lot.”
John Shockley, president of the Rotary Club of Hillsborough, said, “We want our troops to know that we deeply appreciate their service and are thinking of them as the holiday season approaches.”
The Rotary Clubs of Hillsborough, Dunellen-Green Brook, Branchburg, Plainfield and Piscataway joined to give $6,000 to Operation Shoebox. The group receives a lot of donations for items to be placed in boxes, but must concentrate on raising cash in order to mail them.
Operation Shoebox will celebrate its 11th year at a dinner at the Manville VFW in February. 