OCEAN COUNTY – Troops serving overseas are in a hostile, harsh environment, and welcome anything that reminds them of home. And nothing says a piece of home like Christmas decorations.
Lloyd Mullikin, a Bayville resident and a veteran, has been collecting items to send to troops. He ships them in boxes to soldiers that he has been in contact with, so that he knows exactly what they are looking for.
“With Christmas coming, I am starting to be asked for simple decorating items, such as lighting, etc.,” Mullikin wrote to some of the folks who regularly support his mission.
“Nothing fancy, just cheap dollar store items,” came the request of a soldier serving in Afghanistan.
One Base Commander has told him that they set up a “Resiliency Room” for the more than 600 men and women stationed there. Toiletries, snacks, and games are made available.
A recent thank you letter sent to Mullikin, Nancy Seibert, the VFW Posts 9503 and 8352, American Legion Post 348, Ocean County Federation of Republican Women, and Holiday City Berkeley Veterans and Friends said “Your care packages mean a lot to us and it is clear that you put a lot of time, care and thought into what you put into them.”
The following are items that are the most requested by those serving overseas (Due to mailing restrictions, all items sent must be non-aerosol and non-flammable.):
- Shampoo/Conditioner (small sizes preferred)
- Small Size Powder Drink Mixes
- Sun Screen/Body Lotion (small sizes preferred)
- Hand Soap (bars & liquid)
- Microwaveable Foods/Soups
- Shaving Cream & Razors
- Popcorn/Nuts, & Sunflower Seeds
- Toothbrushes (toothpaste not needed)
- Granola/Protein Bars
- Hand Wipes
- Gum/Breath Mints
- Insect repellent
- Hard Candy/Snack Food, M&Ms
- Chap Stick
- Energy Bars/Slim Jims/Beef Jerky
- Cotton Swabs
- Cereal (small sizes preferred)
- Tissues (small packets preferred)
- Spices, Hot Sauce (to liven up bland food)
- Over the counter medical supplies (aspirin, cough medicine, vitamins, band-aids)
- Coffee Packets/Tea Bags
- Greeting Cards (all occasions)
- Eye Drops
- Reading material (book & magazines)
- Mouthwash (small)
- DVD Movies & CD music
- Socks (white or black)
- Pens, Pencils, & Writing Paper
- T-Shirts & Sweat Shirts (with or without logos)
- Various School Supplies
- Sports items (soccer, football, baseball, etc.)
- Laundry Soap (pods)
- Games (puzzles, board games, playing cards, etc.)
- Dryer Sheets
Old cell phones can be dropped off, too, since they are recycled and exchanged for phone cards which are included in the troop mailings.
Where To Donate
Most of the retirement community clubhouses in Berkeley Township have drop-off locations. Other locations include the Toms River Senior Center at 652 Garfield Avenue, Toms River, and Sarah’s Beauty Salon, at 441 Atlantic City Blvd. (Route 9), Bayville.
The shipping costs can be extraordinary for all these items. That’s why tax deductible donations to pay for the shipping may be sent to VFW Post 9503, 383 Veterans Blvd., Bayville, NJ 08721. A check can be made payable to “VFW Post 9503, Troop Mailing Fund.”
Anyone with questions or donations can call Mullikin at 732-232-3815, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.