Operation: MOM launching Operation Stuff the Bus

Local nonprofit seeking food, toiletry donations for troops overseas
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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This weekend a local nonprofit that helps troops overseas will launch a special mission — Operation Stuff the Bus. The Auburn Kiwanis Club is sponsoring a Stuff the Bus event to collect donations for Touch of Home care packages for Operation: MOM. The nonprofit group sends packages of food and toiletries to soldiers stationed overseas. Dee Rein, group leader of Placer County’s Operation: MOM, said with the recent economic downturn, the group has been struggling like other nonprofits to fill its needs. “Everybody is trying to fundraise and make it through the hard times,” Rein said. “Before I would only have to campaign to collect products twice a year. Now, I’m doing it every other month.” Auburn resident David Partak was one of the soldiers who received a care package from the group when he was stationed in Iraq in 2004. He said receiving a package from someone who wasn’t a family member or friend was a “pleasant surprise.” “As we like to say in the military, it is a morale multiplier,” Partak said. “I remember some of the fun stuff, especially the cards and letters from kids.” This Saturday volunteers will collect food and personal items at the Grocery Outlet parking lot off Highway 49 and Elm Avenue in Auburn. The items needed are granola, cereal and protein bars, beef jerky, personal-size deodorant for men and women and toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes. Rein added that hand-sanitizer is also a needed item. As items are dropped off, Anton the Magical Entertainer will perform magic tricks for kids and adults. There will also be a table set up for people to write a note to a solider. Additionally, Grocery Outlet owner John Stevens has donated hot dogs and drinks for Operation: MOM to sell so they can raise money for postage costs. Rein said the group meets once a month and sends about 75 to 100 $10 care packages to soldiers stationed overseas in various countries including Iraq. The nonprofit has been in operation since about 2003. Rein said she hopes Auburn-area residents will help support the men and women in the military this Saturday. “Help us keep our care packages going and support our troops,” Rein said. “This is a great way to do it because the whole family can participate. Even buying one item is really helpful.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment. ---------- What: Stuff the Bus to collect donations for Operation: MOM When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 13 Where: Grocery Outlet parking lot, located on Highway 49 at Elm Avenue in Auburn Bring: Granola, cereal and protein bars, beef jerky, personal size deodorant for men and women and toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes Entertainment: Anton the Magical Entertainer will appear between 11 a.m. and noon and 2 and 3 p.m. ----------