Community members packaged donated items at the Operation: Care and Comfort (OCC) care packaging event at the San Jose Municipal Stadium
OCC is a nonprofit organization which supports United States military members, especially those who are deployed overseas. A care package is a box of gifts and cards donated by people and organizations
This program provides support and comfort to deployed military service members overseas.
At the entrance of the Municipal Stadium, boxes were laid out on the ground and participants put donated items and cards with messages into those boxes. The items included T-shirts, socks, movies, CDs, books, sock monkeys and treats such as Girl Scout cookies.
“People come out and support our military men and women,” OCC Vice President Frank Kaffer said. “We’d like to say that donating your time, treasure and talent is one of the ways people can do to help the community. Some of their family members and friends or relatives are deployed, and their people come to support them.”
This is the 15th year the care package event was held. The event started in the OCC co-founder and president, Julie DeMaria’s garage. It began with shipping care packages to deployed military people overseas and then it grew into the big event it is today.
The organization operates the event every three months, but on a monthly basis it ships care packages overseas.
“All the stuff we ship is donated, groups of people collect items and donate to us,” Kaffer said. “[At today’s event], we have Oracle, National Charity League and [families] put together packages for us.”
Boy Scouts came to volunteer and Northern California Girl Scouts donated approximately 30,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies for the
Inside the entrance of the stadium, kids drew pictures and wrote thank you cards to add to the boxes.
“I think the most important thing is giving back to community supporting something that’s meaningful to yourself,” Kaffer said.
The event was intended to relay a message of gratitude to military members overseas and the pride of doing something great for the community.
“It was nice seeing all those stuff we are sending and people volunteered and donated to help the troops overseas,” San Jose resident Zachary Wright said. “[I saw that] a lot of people care about how troops are doing and support them. I hope we got to send the messages to them that they are not forgotten and that we are all thinking about them.”
Wright came to the event with his family after his mother found about this event on the website AllForGood.org, where people can search or create volunteer activities that are available around the community.
“I like [this event] because I always wanted to do something to help,” San Jose resident Andres Ulloa said. “By doing this, another person will be benefiting from it.”
Ulloa heard about this event through his school.
“If I would give [deployed military people overseas] a message, I would thank them for their services because they do a lot for our country,” Ulloa said. “It is a brave act for them to do. And they are not ordinary people who just go to serve a military, so it’s important.”