Spotswood Office on Aging seeks donations for military care packages

PHOTOS COURTESY OF GINEEN MOROSCO

SPOTSWOOD–Packing up items ranging from cookies to phone cards, the Spotswood Office on Aging and Senior Center is sending care packages to residents serving in the military.

“Barb Cottrell, one of our amazing volunteers, came to us last summer and wondered if we’d like to collaborate on a project to send care packages to members of our community, or relatives of members of our community, who are currently serving in the military. We loved the idea and jumped at the chance to honor the sacrifices of our military personnel,”  said Donna Faulkenberry, director of the Office on Aging (OOA).

The OOA first collected donations in September 2018 and mailed them in October to make sure they didn’t get caught in the holiday shipping rush, according to Faulkenberry.

“[After] the warm and generous response from our members as well as the heartfelt gratitude from the soldiers and their families, including a video made by one of the soldiers,” Faulkenberry said, “it was decided that we would do it once a quarter for as long as we’re able.”

In addition to sending care packages in March, the OOA hopes to ship packages out in June, September and December, according to Faulkenberry.

“One of our seniors who is a snowbird just sent a package for the military donation drive from Florida. She has a son who served and knows the importance of support from the home front,” Faulkenberry said. “It’s indicative of the extreme generosity of our members and community.”

Donations are accepted at the Office on Aging and Senior Center, located at 1 Arlington Ave., according to Faulkenberry.

Items can include flavor packets for water, powdered drink mix, cocoa, tea bags, instant coffee, powdered creamer, energy bars, non-perishable beef jerky, snacks, packaged baby wipes, eye drops, lip balm, lotions, aspirin and/or other pain reliever, foot ointment, medicated foot powder, cotton socks, magazines, comic books, reading material, word searches, paperback books, jigsaw puzzles, notepaper, pens, pencils, stamps, envelopes, and phone cards with overseas minutes.

Residents can also donate items that are reminders of home, such as homemade goods, the Sunday comics, and/or a personal note. If residents choose to send a personal note, they must only use their first name, their last name’s initial and use the senior center’s address.

“In March, we will be sending out two packages each to four soldiers. We’d love to send more but are somewhat limited due to shipping costs,” Faulkenberry said. “Staff members donated the funds last time.”

After collecting donations in September 2018, Faulkenberry said the OOA sent six packages, two packages each to three soldiers.

“These soldiers are young, some just out of high school, and missing their families. To be able to send them something that reminds them of home and lets them know we’re thinking about them is the very least we can do for them,” Faulkenberry said.

Faulkenberry continued to say, “Any opportunity to thank someone who has served or is serving our country should be seized. To be able to give our entire community that chance is a joy and a privilege. We are blessed.”

For more information, call 732-251-3432 or visit www.spotswoodboro.com/office-on-aging.