NORFOLK — Gifts of food and other necessities are always a welcomed sight. Indeed, everyone loves a good care package; especially those deployed in the military.
That is why Troopster exists. It’s an organization that accepts donations and sends care packages to military service members on deployment. This Wednesday, April 11, Troopster will open a new location in Norfolk. It will offer opportunities for the community to get involved with Troopster’s mission, and will expand the organization’s mission to supply troops with comfort packages.
According to a news release from Troopster, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander will attend the ribbon cutting on Wednesday for Troopster’s grand opening . The event runs from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; tours of the facility will be given from 9 a.m. until 9:45 a.m., and the ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m.
Troopster in Norfolk is located behind Phantom Works near Old Dominion University.
Caring about care packages
In 2015, active duty Navy Petty Officer Chelsea Mandello founded Troopster Military Care Packs and its online store, which is the for-profit side of Troopster where customers can order personalized care packages for troops stationed abroad. The Norfolk office will serve both the profit and nonprofit sides of Troopster, Mandello said.
The office will serve as both main packing facility for the for-profit Troopster, LLC, which fulfills online orders from their website, and will also be the location for Troopster Donations, the nonprofit arm that accepts monetary and food donations.
“I can’t think of a better location for Troopster than in the City of Norfolk,” Mandello said. “Norfolk has continuously supported my dream for Troopster since I launched in 2015 — offering countless resources such as the Veterans Business Outreach and Old Dominion Innovation Center, I am proud to join the local business community.”
Mandello founded Troopster while she was serving in the Navy after experiencing a difficult deployment in which many of her fellow service members were in need of care packages.
The very first Troopster donation was received in Mandello’s Virginia Beach home, and the organization’s first donation event was hosted in November 2016 by the Slover Library.
Its new donation center in Norfolk will engage volunteers in the area every fourth Saturday of each month to assemble and ship out donation care packages to those deployed in the military.
Troopster will also be accepting donations during its grand opening, and have expressed a need for the following items:
- Beef jerky
- Healthy snack bars
- Skittles or other bags of candy
- Emergen-C Vitamin Drink Mix
So who delivers packages to troops abroad?
Until 1980, each military service and government agency managed its own mail program.
In 1980, the Department of Defense designated the Secretary of the Army as the single military mail manager, and the Military Postal Service Agency was created to perform this task.
MPSA is required to adhere to the United States Postal Service’s shipping rules, federal laws, and various international laws and agreements for movement of military mail into more than 85 countries.
How long it takes to receive mail overseas
Transit times for overseas mail may vary due to military aircraft schedules, weather, transportation and military operations in theater, or movement of a service member’s unit.
Guide to standard overseas mail transit times (by days):
Wrapping everything up for the grand opening
Mandello said those who attend the April 11 ribbon cutting will have a chance to win a few prizes, including the chance to send a free care package in the participant’s name to a military service member.
Mandello said that knowing what it’s like being stationed overseas is what drives her passion of Troopster.