South Jersey non-profit sends care packages to troops overseas

MEDFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (WPVI) -- "If I have to stand in the rain and put in the extra hours to do this for our military that are making it so we have these freedoms, that's what I'm going to do," said December Giberson-Shover.

Giberson-Shover is the owner and namesake of 'A Rose in December,' a flower shop in Medford Township that has roots in the U.S. Military.

"My son is also enlisted," she said. "Months would go by and we would have no contact with him. And as a parent, that makes you wonder. You just want to hear their voice."

Today, Giberson-Shover lent her motherly instincts to Operation Yellow Ribbon, which prepares and sends care packages to troops overseas. She rallied community members, including 92 local small businesses, to make contributions to the cause. Members of the Seneca High School Junior ROTC placed their boots on the ground to help. Lenape Regional School District bus drivers used their fittingly-yellow vehicles to transport dozens of donations.

"We call it a hug in a box," said David Silver, president of Operation Yellow Ribbon in
South Jersey.

In 2012, Silver's eyes opened to the reality of soldiers in the Middle East.

"We forget they're deployed and making these sacrifices," he said. "So, each and every week, our volunteers pack and sort and ship care package items."

Aside from the typical toothbrush and deodorant, Operation Yellow Ribbon packs goodies you might find in a child's lunchbox. But especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, that has come at a cost.

"Fundraising has been impossible," said Silver, who typically sends around 2,000 care packages to roughly 300 troops each year. "Donations have been down but the request for care packages haven't stopped."

Silver hopes that a day will come when soldiers will come home and forgo the need of his care packages.

"I get to go home at night and tuck my children into bed or kiss my wife goodnight. They don't," he said. "So, we need to remember that, and the community has definitely done that today."

To learn more about Operation Yellow Ribbon, visit their website.

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