Roselle Park High School (RPHS) teacher Matthew Spricigo, along with fellow RPHS educators Fran Maggio and Kara Dowling, started a program in April that has students sending care packages to servicemen and women serving their country overseas.
Mr. Spricigo was given the opportunity to talk about the program at the December 7th Mayor & Council meeting. He provided an overview of the program, saying “The goal of it was to find, originally, just some soldiers that maybe someone knew and then we expanded it out to ex-Roselle Park High School students or anyone who was affiliated with Roselle Park to try and support them by sending care packages of food or toiletries or whatever they could have possibly needed.”
Through word of mouth, the students found out information about neighbors who knew of someone serving in the military. More than just being a one-time donation, care packages would be sent to each service member for their entire tour of active duty – be it six months, a year, or longer. Mr. Spricigo continued, “The students really rallied for us and we’ve, so far since April, been able to procure over a thousand pounds of goods to send out which is really tremendous. We’ve sent out about – as of this week – over 800 pounds to various soldiers: either sailors on ships or people who are serving in the Middle East. It’s been really pretty successful.”
The packages have been appreciated not only by the original recipients but by squads, units, platoons, fleets, and even superior officers. The students have received letters of commendation from the captain of a ship thanking them for the care packages and a flag that was flown in Afghanistan from First Lieutenant Crystal Mercado – who is from Roselle Park.
Currently, packages are delivered to 21 members of the military.
The students take care of the donations and contents of the packages but the biggest expense is the cost of postage. Most packages, at an of average 40 pounds, cost about $30 each.
Mr. Spricigo remarked, “We are sending out hundred dollars’ worth of care packages a month and we go through the money kind of quickly there. We might be actually getting a couple of more service members so that’s something else that we would have to handle.”
There have been donations from the Roselle Park PBA but Mr. Spricigo wants to get the workout to raise funds through either one-time or sustained donations to cover postage. He added, “We do need to get more so we can continue with the program. So, if anyone in Roselle Park – whether it’s a business or on their own – would like to donate to our program, they can bring their donation to the high school, to the main office, and they can drop it off there and it would be greatly appreciated.”
Anyone wishing to help and provide donations for postage can reach out to the high school by calling (908) 241-4550 and speaking with RPHS principal Sarah Costa.