Jelly beans fill an urgent need!

Boatsie’s Boxes “Operation Jelly Bean Express #6” the 2011 installment of this annual project is now underway, with organizers doing everything they can to get the word out that our military personnel are urgently in need of jelly beans.

Yes: the need for at least 10,000 bags of jelly beans is considered crucial when it comes to keeping morale in good order and when supporting efforts to satisfy the pesky sweet tooth sensations surfacing as the Easter season approaches.

The success of this annual effort rests with grassroots supporters of all ages and from any corner of the country.

This all important collection phase of the operation lasts just a few weeks.

All donated bags of jelly beans are to arrive at Boatsie’s Boxes headquarters by April 20 so they can then be repackaged and sent to military personnel now serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Boatsie’s Boxes headquarters is actually the basement of her home at 33 Forest Hills Drive in Wheeling.)

“It’s amazing how a small bag of Jelly Beans can lift the spirits of our troops” said Gail Van Vranken, founder of Boatsie’s Boxes, Inc. “Jelly Beans are so American, and a wonderful reminder of home for our troops. It’s such a simple and fun way to show our troops that we care,” reflected Boatsie when sharing details of the project with local supporters.”

Her son is in the Air Force.

Her desire to help him meet everyday needs of those around him provided the emotional foundation on which the successful support effort “Boatsie’s Boxes” was founded in 2004 and on which it continues to operate today.

Jelly bean donations can be brought to home of her second in command: “Zoomie” otherwise known as Janell Loh. The driveway to her home at 1746 National Road, Wheeling, can be accessed directly roadway and will take donors directly to a collection box located on the front porch of the house.

Loh can be reached at (304) 243-0675 for additional information about Operation Jelly Bean Express 2011 or for more details about the year-round work done through Boatsie’s boxes in support of American troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq

Other collection boxes can be found at Mountain Top Greenhouse Home and Garden in the Elm Grove section of Wheeling; The Children’s Home of Wheeling at 1 Orchard Road; and at the Dollar Tree stores in Moundsville and New Martinsville.

Jelly beans may also be brought to, or shipped directly to: Boatsie’s Boxes, 33 Forest Hills Drive, Wheeling WV 26003.

Unopened bags of jelly beans need to be in the hands of Boatsie’s Boxes Operation Jelly Bean Express workers by April 20.

Monetary donations are also gratefully accepted and are used to help cover the expense of mailing the 10,000 bags of jelly beans to our troops.

With that collection deadline just weeks away every trip to the grocer, the drug store, or corner store is another opportunity to purchase a bag of jelly beans to share with American troops deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq.

There is something almost magical about the universal appeal of jelly beans making them the perfect gift to share with the thousands of American military personnel deployed in such far off places as Afghanistan and Iraq – places where the beauty of springtime looks quite different than it does at home.

When gathering all the goodies for the Easter Bunny to share with your loved ones, consider purchasing a couple extra bags of jelly beans to share with American troops deployed in such stark lands as are Afghanistan and Iraq.

The simple effort of supporting Operation Jelly Bean Express #6 by donating bags of jelly beans will leave you with a smile – and will help carry that good thought half way around the world to a man or woman who are far from home and the emerging beauty of springtime in America.

“We need jelly beans! Lots and lots of jelly beans!” said Loh. “Our goal is to collect 10,000 bags of jelly beans by April 20th to send to the men and women serving our country overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boatsie and I are asking schools, churches, businesses, community organizations and caring citizens to help send some spring cheer to our troops by donating Jelly Beans to Operation Jelly Bean Express.”

More information about this organization, its 501-3c standing, and its ongoing projects can be found at its website:

In addition to the seasonal goodies shared with American military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan the support group routinely sends boxes of items the troops are in need of on a day to day basis.

Loccisano may be reached at