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EU JROTC helps send 100-plus Cheer Boxes for troops overseas
More than 100 Cheer Boxes were packed by dozens of volunteers including cadets with East Union High Schools JROTC program as part of Operation: Troop Outreach. - photo by Photo Contributed

Hundreds of American soldiers serving in far-flung and troubled corners of the world will have a taste of Christmas back home, thanks to the efforts of many students and other individuals from all over San Joaquin County.

Among those who collected items for holiday care packages for the troops overseas are members of the East Union High School JROTC led by instructor Karl Knutsen, retired Army sergeant first class. The Lancer cadets also assisted in packing 102 boxes and getting them ready for shipping.

Lancer students were not the only ones from Manteca Unified who were involved in the Operation: Troop Outreach in Lodi. Members of the Manteca Educators Association were actively involved as well, as they did last year. The Manteca Police Department also assisted in this project, as well as the Lodi Girl Scout Troops who donated more than 500 boxes Girl Scout cookies which were included with the Cheer Boxes.

Donations for Operation: Troop Outreach were actually collected throughout the year. Enough donations were received to pack and ship the 102 boxes for American soldiers deployed overseas. The organizers are hoping that, with the help of the community, they will be able to send even more care packages or Cheer Boxes next year.

To find out more about Operation: Troop Outreach and to donate to the cause, contact Nikki Ferraiolo at 209.803.8185, or visit their web page at at You can also find them on Facebook – Operation: Troop Outreach.