Nancy with operation shoeboxNancy comes from a military family and holds service men and women close to her heart. Her father served as a Chaplain in the WWII Army Air Corps, and she traveled the world with her husband as he served in the US Air Force, flying C-130 planes.

Being close to military personnel, Nancy was familiar with Operation Shoebox, an organization based out of Belleview, FL that provides support for troops deployed overseas and those returning home through packing and shipping supplies and fundraising for veterans in need. Operation Shoebox was founded in 2003, and Nancy joined the mission shortly after, in 2006.

As a Villager, Nancy’s days could easily be spent lounging by a community pool, perfecting her golf game or dining at one of the packed town squares, but she chooses to spend her time serving those who serve our country. Nancy still enjoys a vibrant activity-filled life at Buffalo Crossings, but her priorities are clear.

Nancy started with Operation Shoebox as a packing volunteer where she helped package items to be shipped to the troops, each with a personal letter. She then moved to the book department, organizing Operation Shoebox-related newspaper articles into binders. She also collected and logged the countless thank you letters from the service men and women, of course, this was after the founder read every single one.

Now, every Monday, Nancy volunteers at the sign-in desk at a Villages rec center, selling raffle tickets to support Operation Shoebox. The mission requires more than organizing and packaging goods. No matter how many items that are donated, organized and packaged, the shoeboxes are useless if funds are not donated to ship them overseas to get them into the hands of our troops.

Nancy with donationsMany have the misconception that organizations like Operation Shoebox are holiday fundraisers, but that is false. This is a year-round production,

and on any given Monday, Nancy says you can find over 350 volunteers working to ship approximately 400 packages. In 2018, over $100,000 was spent in postage alone! Nancy explains that they could send even more packages each year, but they must pay the postage to ship them, and they’re in need of donations.

Nancy enjoys The Villages lifestyle at Buffalo Crossings Assisted Living, but she never forgets her purpose of making a difference by giving back and showing honor where it is well deserved.

To find out how you can make a difference with Operation Shoebox, click here, and to learn about Buffalo Crossings Assisted Living, please call (352) 547-5820.