Next month, Operation Gratitude will celebrate its 18th anniversary. It was on the day that U.S. forces invaded Iraq that Operation Gratitude’s founder Carolyn Blashek first assembled and shipped care packages to soldiers in harm’s way. Since then, more than 2.3 million service members, military families and Veterans have received our care packages.
Operation Gratitude helped more than 600,000 people in 2020
Undeterred by the global pandemic, Operation Gratitude positively impacted 619,000 heroes in 2020, including deployed troops, Veterans, first responders, National Guardsmen, and health care heroes fighting COVID-19. These efforts were bolstered by a partnership with VA, enabling deliveries of care packages to 18,250 doctors and nurses at VA hospitals in 14 states, as well as thousands of Veterans who were homebound and isolated at VA facilities and nursing homes. In total, Operation Gratitude delivered care packages to 55,000 Veterans in all 50 states and DC last year.
As our nation’s longest war continues, we are calling on Americans everywhere to give back in a tangible way to our men and women deployed overseas through our Virtual Volunteerism programs. We are asking volunteers to write letters and handcraft items to be included in the care packages we send on March 19, 2021, in commemoration of our founding. Together, let’s show 18,000 service members deployed around the world how much their service and sacrifice means to us.
Become a #VirtualVolunteer
Over the next five weeks, you can make a difference by knitting or crocheting scarves and hats; handcrafting paracord bracelets or blank greeting cards for troops to send home to their loved ones; and writing personal letters of appreciation and support.
Operation Gratitude is calling on Americans, like you, across the country to participate in our unique, at home #VirtualVolunteerism activities. You can leverage your talent and creativity and provide direct support to hundreds of thousands of frontline responders and military – nationwide and globally – by visiting our website here.
To demonstrate the impact you will make, here is an email we received last month from a deployed service member whose spirits were lifted by one of our holiday care packages:
Dear Operation Gratitude Volunteers and Supporters,
Words can’t express my gratitude for receiving your care package full of kind gifts from the wonderful people of our great country including snacks and handmade items. I just arrived back in the United States after a VERY long COVID year deployed to Africa. Although I cannot be with my family during the holidays and New Year due to quarantining over 3,000 miles away from home, this package and the handwritten letters warm my heart. I will keep this smile for a bit. Thank you for the continued support!
Chief R.P., U.S. Navy
Paying It Forward
Whether you’re a grateful American looking for an opportunity to serve those who serve or a Veteran, you can pay it forward to the men and women who followed in your footsteps. Now is the time to act. In the face of extended deployments, a global pandemic, and concerns for loved ones back home, our deployed troops need your support more than ever.
Join our Virtual Volunteerism movement and give back with Operation Gratitude today!
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of VA.
Written by Kevin Schmiegel, CEO at Operation Gratitude.