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The Villages
Friday, August 19, 2022

Operation Shoebox holds bingo fundraiser to send troops ‘a little love from home’

A Super Bingo Sunday Fundraiser was held by Operation Shoebox to support soldiers.

Operation Shoebox in The Villages has for many years been supporting armed forces deployed outside the United States, sending them care packages with donated items: Coffee, socks, hygiene items, and letters of encouragement.

Susan Williams holding cash was the winner of the first game
Susan Williams, holding cash, was the winner of the first game.

This started in 2003 when Mary Harper’s children and sons-in-law got deployed and she would send them care packages in shoeboxes. After a couple of months, she would send some to other armed forces members who never get anything. Now the group has exceeded 2 million packages and continues to send more.

Walter Santo shows off his winnings at the Bingo fundraiser for Operation Shoebox
Walter Santo shows off his winnings at the Bingo fundraiser for Operation Shoebox.

“We just try to send the troops a little love from home,” said Susie Dobrowolski, a volunteer for Operation Shoebox.

Operation Shoebox volunteers package the goods and then ship them out.

“Each week we send 300 to 400 packages,” Dobrowolski said.

Volunteers for Operational Shoebox Lana Stevens Jackie Kleine and Denise Cairo from left
Volunteers for Operational Shoebox Lana Stevens, Jackie Kleine and Denise Cairo, from left.

Shipping costs for these packages cost as much as $10,000 per month. That’s why the organization has fundraisers such as Super Bingo Sunday.

Admission for this event was $10 and that includes a book of 15 games. Payouts were generous: $100 per game; Jr. Jackpot $200; Sr. Jackpot $400; Patriotic Jackpot pays $300, $600, and $1,000; and there are door prizes.

Camille Gieck, director of Operation Shoebox, says she hoped the event could  bring in about $10,000.

“We have 7500 packages we have to send out to the USS Truman, and it’s going to cost us at least $20,000 for all the postage plus what we have to put in it,” Gieck said.

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