'Operation Holiday Goodie Drop' sends care packages to troops overseas

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Monday, December 5, 2022
'Operation Holiday Goodie Drop' sends care packages to troops overseas
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Volunteers like Air Force veteran Sally Stenton are sending a hug in a box to U.S. military members deployed overseas.

MARTLON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- They're typically known as "Operation Yellow Ribbon." But this time of year, the South Jersey nonprofit has another operation they're tackling.

The holiday mission is known as "Operation Holiday Goodie Drop," and it enlists community volunteers and small businesses to participate.

Dave Silver, President of OYR, is leading the charge.

"Our brave men and women are deployed away in harm's way, you know, maybe missing their child's first Christmas or first Hanukkah first Kwanzaa," said Silver. "What we do right now, from now till December 11, we're asking people in the community to drop off items."

One volunteer is U.S. Air Force veteran, Sally Stenton. In 2010, her sister requested that Stenton receive care packages during her year in Afghanistan.

"I got this box, and it said, 'Three dozen eggs,' and I was completely confused," she said. "And I opened it up and it had all this great food and toiletries."

Stenton, who continued to receive care packages before and after the December holidays, decided to become a volunteer when she returned home and retired. Now, she helps active duty members of the U.S. military feel that same joy in a box.

"It's from people who don't know you and will likely never meet you," she said. "But they love you and they care about you and they want you to know that they are there supporting you."

In addition to volunteers, local businesses like Family & Co. Jewelers in Marlton have opened their doors as drop-off spots where community members have been making donations. But truthfully, they need more.

Operation Yellow Ribbon has shipped more than 1,300 care packages in 2022 so far. Each one requires $35-$40 to ship.

"We're spending more than we bring in every month, so it's not going to last forever," said Dave Silver. "But we're going to keep on charging, keep putting the smiles on those brave men and women serving in the Middle East until we run out."

Operation Holiday Goodie Drop runs until December 11, 2022. Anyone can make a donation at a list of drop-off spots or virtually. To learn how you can help, visit their website.

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