Sailor collecting gifts to send to fellow service members overseas

NORFOLK, Va (WRIC) – A Navy sailor has collected gifts to send to more than 500 of her fellow service members overseas just in time for the holiday season.

Chelsea Mandello, 28, came up with the idea a year ago.

Mandello knows that feeling all too well. Right now, she’s on shore duty, but remembers deployment vividly.

6b193f8f4c09419ebe4c15d310f25512“You really just miss home and you feel left out,” said Mandello. “Individuals might not have kids or they might not be married and so they don’t receive as many care packages.”

Mandello started an organization called “Troopster” and this year is the first time she’s taken on the massive task. She said it was an effort completely made possible by the public.

“I just love how the Hampton Roads community really came together to support the Military,” said Mandello.

More than 40 businesses bought supplies and boxes and others have offered up services like transportation for free.

Mandello and a group of volunteers plan to pack up the care packages on Friday at the Slover Library in Norfolk.

Mandello is still looking for sponsors to help with shipping costs, so she set up a GoFundMe which you can find here.

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