HILLSBOROUGH: Rotary Club gears up for annual Operation Shoebox

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An annual drive to benefit the men and women serving the American military abroad is starting up in earnest this Saturday, as the Rotary Club of Hillsborough begins organizing volunteers for Operation Shoebox.
From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, community volunteers of all ages will work to assemble the bags and boxes that will be sent across the globe to soldiers serving overseas.
Founded in Hillsborough in 2005, Operation Shoebox New Jersey is an all-volunteer grass roots organization dedicated to collecting donated supplies and shipping care packages to U.S. troops based in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries.
Organizers said they are planning to assemble 1,500 packages this year. The individual bags packed by volunteers are grouped together into small boxes and then placed into larger containers for shipment.
Operation Shoebox seeks donations of food and personal care items, including canned tuna, canned fruit, one ounce boxes of cereal, dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars, beef jerky, small bags of pretzels and chips, small tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes, small packets of moist wipes, soap, deodorant, small canisters of powder and small bottles of shampoo.
The cost of shipping each package is funded by donations from the Rotary Club of Hillsborough and the community. Cash donations to off-set shipping costs can be made at the event or sent in advance by check to Operation Shoebox, 152 Route 206, Hillsborough, NJ 08844. Donations of the aforementioned items can also be dropped off at the same location.
According to Anthony Franchini, the president of the Rotary Club of Hillsborough, this year’s packing event will give attendees more to do than just packaging items for shipment.
“Volunteers not only feel good about joining their neighbors in supporting our troops, but tell us how much they enjoy the event’s lively atmosphere, which includes a DJ, cookie sale, and free hot dogs and refreshments,” Franchini said.
The Rotary Club of Hillsborough has more than 40 active members from Hillsborough and the surrounding communities who “provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”
All funds raised at the Rotary Fair are donated back to community projects. The Hillsborough Rotary Club meets every Wednesday, at 6 p.m. at The Landing Restaurant.
To participate in the event, volunteers should head to the Hillsborough YMCA between 10:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 2. Once there, Rotary members will provide packing instructions.