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Local care package service gives deployed military personnel “a taste of home”

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Navy Sailor Chelsea Mandello and a volunteer were in Virginia Beach Sunday afternoon packing.

But it wasn't for a trip.

“Susan is packing a donation box and I’m actually packing one of our orders that we receive online," Mandello told News 3.

The two were putting together "Troopster" care packages for deployed service members.

There are 40 pre-made packages people can choose from as well as 400 items, like Ramen noodles, crackers, flashlights, and toiletries, they can use to help make the packages more personalized.

Navy Sailor Travis Diperna has gotten several.

“It’s really just exciting too, every time you see this box you know there’s gonna be a lot of cool stuff in there," Diperna said.

Mandello said she came up with the idea after a 2013 deployment.

“We were doing anti-piracy operations and because of the area were in getting mail was pretty difficult. So by the time many of us received care packages a lot of them had gone bad," Mandello said.

She wanted to simplify the process of sending the packages and also provide them for service members without family.

Right now, Mandello is looking for volunteers to help her put together two thousand boxes that will be sent out during the Christmas season.

They will be donated to service member who may not have loved ones.

Volunteers will box up the care packages on November 18th at Top Golf, starting at 11a.m.

“The least that they deserve, and they deserve so much more, is to just get a package in the mail to make them feel connected to home in any possible way," Susan Pullian, a Troopster Volunteer, said."

“The least that they deserve, and they deserve so much more, is to just get a package in the mail to make them feel connected to home in any possible way.”

Their “mission is to provide care packages to those serving our country while maintaining a simple and enjoyable care package process,” Mandello said.

Since 2015, more than 600 packages have been sent to our deployed military.

Mandello told News , she's planning to leave the military in a few months to fully devote her time to Troopster.

“To get this package says that someone loves you, cares about you," she said.