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Elementary school students decorate boxes for troops

(Nov. 7, 2014) Operation We Care, a 501(c)3 charitable organization is ending its eighth year collecting and distributing supply boxes to U.S. soldiers deployed overseas.

The deadline to donate is Friday, Nov. 14. Drop-off locations are spread throughout the Salisbury-Ocean City areas and a list of the most-needed items is available at www.operationwecare.org.

Students from Showell Elementary and Snow Hill Elementary schools have taken to decorating the boxes for the soldiers, at first drawing or writing directly on the interior of the package and then, after the Post Office began printing on the inside, using construction paper “panels” that are easier to handle and can be easily removed, according to Dawn O’Hara, a teacher at Showell involved with Operation We Care for the past six years.

The panels can be decorated before the box is put together, and are just easier to work with, O’Hara said.

O’Hara said the children love decorating the boxes and send soldiers art, stories or words of encouragement.

“It’s a tool for the school and the feedback from the military has been tremendous. They love it,” Bruce Bennett, a spokesperson for the organization, said.

Jeff Merritt, the founder of Operation We Care, said he was very grateful to the students for decorating the boxes.

Now in it’s eighth year, Merritt estimates he’s sent about 5,500 boxes to troops through Operation We Care.

And he doesn’t plan to stop, war or no war.

“I think I’m always going to send boxes to our troops deployed all over the world. They may not be in a combat zone, but they’re away from their families and need our support,” he said.

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