Dozens of volunteers gathered Saturday morning  to make sure troops deployed weren’t forgotten this Christmas as they assembled hundreds of care packages to be shipped out around the world.

Jenese Borges-Soto, founder of Gone but not forgotten Veterans Project/Memorial Troop Support Program, led the event hosted at Keller Williams Realty in downtown Tracy.

“It’s important because we want  our deployed service members to know that were still thinking about them and that we’re praying for them and want them to come home safe, Borges-Soto said.

More than 60 volunteers, including a group from the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets San Joaquin Division, packed more than 400 boxes with donations gathered over the past couple of months.

Saturday’s packing was the seventh annual Community 4 Care Packages event for the troops but the first in two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program is the founder of the Community 4 Care group which is based out of Manteca. The local Tracy Community 4 Care holds a once-a-year packing event for Christmas care packages.

A Christmas packing event schedule for Manteca was cancelled after one of the founding members died but Borges-Soto wanted to have the care packages ready for troops.

“We decided we still wanted to do at least one, so we chose this one since it’s been a couple of years,” Borges-Soto said.

The care packages have a variety of items from washcloths and hygiene products to puzzle books, snack foods and a large supply of donated Halloween candy.

“We have handwritten cards, for our Christmas pack we have stocking and presents, tons of candy — the community came together once again beautify and I think we collected about 150 pounds. The only time we can send chocolate is during the winter.”

Volunteers wound their way around tables picking items to add to boxes with the handwritten notes added last. Boxes were assembled for men women and canine troops deployed.

The completed care packages will be shipped out within the next two weeks, so they arrive to the troops before Christmas.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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