'Hug in a Box': South Jersey nonprofit sends care packages to troops overseas

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Sunday, April 2, 2023
'Hug in a Box': South Jersey nonprofit sends care packages to troops
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What's in the "Egg" box? When troops overseas receive this curious package, they're in for a much greater treat when they crack it open.

MEDFORD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "I was in Bagram, Afghanistan, and I got a package one day from somebody I didn't know," said Bill Lintner of Sicklerville, New Jersey. "And it was an egg box."

Lintner served in the United States Army in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Then, following a 21-year-long gap, he re-enlisted during the war on terror.

While stationed in the Middle East, he received that iconic brown box with a curious label.

"I opened it and it had a little bit of everything from this area, Philadelphia and New Jersey... had Tastykakes in there, Girl Scout Cookies," he said. "And it brings the morale back, even just for a couple hours, or a couple of days, or a week or two."

Lintner soon discovered the box was sent from a South Jersey nonprofit, Operation Yellow Ribbon, which is designed to boost the morale of troops serving overseas.

And today, the 5th annual Fill-A-Bus benefit was held to accumulate all the kinds of donations they send in those egg boxes. This year's event was dubbed, 'Operation Integrity.'

"We call it a 'Hug in a box,'" said Operation Yellow Ribbon President Dave Silver. "It's coming from total strangers from South Jersey and the challenge is on to fill four school buses full of care packages for our brave troops."

Members of the Air Force Junior ROTC, local police and fire departments, girl scouts, business owners, and various church and school organizations came together to donate their time, money, and items to the cause.

All together, the community raised more than $30,000 for Operation Yellow Ribbon to continue its mission.

The event is held each year at A Rose in December custom floral shop, whose owner, December Giberson-Shiver, has a personal connection to the military.

"My oldest son is enlisted and when he was deployed, we kind of saw a need for this," said Giberson-Shover. "You know, they're thrilled to death to get a new toothbrush, whereas that's something you and I can go to the local store and just purchase."

Operation Yellow Ribbon ships care packages on a weekly basis and always relies on the support of community donations to continue operating.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit their website.

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