By John Ostapkovich

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was “Christmas in July” today at Sugarhouse Casino in Fishtown, celebrating assembly of thousands of gift boxes for our troops in Afghanistan.

Ten organizations including the casino and a Fishtown Catholic school were honored for providing at least one hundred care packages each.

Joe Brooks, head of the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern NJ, says the boxes contained not only local products such as Tastykakes and Wawa coffee, but some more personal items.

“There’s notes we’ve collected — most recently on July 4th, asking residents of the Delaware Valley to let the troops know that they’re thought of and it’s basically, ‘You have not been forgotten,’ ” he tells KYW Newsradio.

Maj. Gen. Randall Marchi of the Pennsylvania National Guard says he’s been to war zones and talked to troops on the receiving end, who always have a message in return: “Tell the people who send the care packages, thank you, and continue to send the packages.”

Gen. Marchi says that since July is fighting season in Afghanistan, the morale boost of a package and note from home is much needed.

The “ambassador” organizations honored today were BNP Paribas, Day & Zimmermann, Independence Blue Cross, CM3 Building Solutions, Delaware Veterans Post #1, East Ward Elementary School, Cobham, Sugarhouse, St. Laurentius, and Fast Track Logistics.

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