Businesses collect care package items for troops

Four businesses in Waterbury-LaSalle are remembering the troops fighting oversees this holiday season, and urge their customers and the community to do the same.

They are participating in Operation Shoebox, a program that sends care-packages of nonperishable items to troops in Afghanistan and overseas. The care packages are not really delivered in shoeboxes, but have been providing comfort and support in the form of personal care items, snacks, and other things including local newspapers and paperback books. The program has been in around since 2003.

Francesca Musico, owner of Creative Image Hair Salon at 3162 E. Tremont Avenue has teamed up with three of her neighbors in the effort to bring holiday joy by collecting items for a “shoebox” drive from now until Christmas. You can drop items off at her store until Christmas, as well as at Weekend Warrior Tool Center at 3160 E. Tremont Avenue, Skibbo’s Discount Beer and Soda at 3156 E. Tremont Avenue, and the painting service Paint Plus, located above Skibbo’s.

“We are getting together to collect for Operation Shoebox so we can send holiday care packages to our troops,” Musico said. “We would like to do something charitable during the holidays for our troops. I heard about Operation Shoebox on the news. It is easy to find these items, and many of them are often on sale.”

The items that can be donated are toiletries, heat resistant candy, writing paper and envelopes, dental products like floss and mouthwash, board games and playing cards, new and used DVDs, Sodoku books, tissues, deodorant, disposable razors, shampoo, and batteries, among other items. A complete list can be found online at

Musico said that it was her customers, some of who have family members serving on active duty in the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere, who inspired her to participate in the program. She said that it is one of many things that people can do to help those in need during the Holidays. The best part is that the merchants will handle the packaging to send whatever is collected to be processed by Operation Shoebox.

“I have customers who have sons, husbands, and cousins serving active duty if Afghanistan and other places,” Musico said. “All they have to do is drop the toiletries and other items off, and we will take care of the packaging.”

The other merchants said that Musico really took the lead on the project, and she said that she has also been working to collect money from fellow merchants for Christmas lights and decorations for her part of East Tremont Avenue. The other merchants said they were happy to be participating.

“She came up with the idea and asked me to go along with it, and I said ‘why not?’,” said Thomas Altieri, owner of Skibbo’s Discount Beer and Soda. “The troops need everything they can get from us in terms of support.”

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