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Operation Gratitude Sends 300,000th Care Package

posted on Dec 19 2007 0 Comments

 

300,000th Care Package Celebration
Santa joins 1000 Volunteers and Special Guests Santa and Jeep 12-07

Van Nuys, CA – Ten days before his regularly scheduled journey, Santa J. Claus surprised more than 1000 Operation Gratitude volunteers on December 15, when he arrived at the California National Guard Armory in a sleek new 2008 Jeep Liberty, led onto the drill floor by eight Emergen-C Reindeer.  Joining Stephen Quinn (center), Jeep Brand district manager of the West Business Center and Monica Sikorski (right), Special Event & Promotions Manager

Alacer Corp., Makers of Emergen-C, Santa proudly held the 300,000th Operation Gratitude Care Package as Quinn placed the keys to the Liberty inside the box.
“The Jeep brand is donating an all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty to the recipient of the 300,000th Operation Gratitude package,” announced Quinn, 30. “The Jeep brand looks forward to personally expressing our gratitude when we award the real vehicle to the lucky recipient upon his or her return to the U.S.,” he continued.


Sikorski, 28, lead reindeer and Alacer representative, added several special gifts, including the 700,000th packet of Emergen-C, the popular nutrient packed energy drink.  She also matched donation challenges from Operation Gratitude Supervisor Georgie Baby Jacobs, King and his Court Captain, Jack Knight and U.S. Military All-Stars Manager, Terry Allvord.

Claus, age unknown, admitted that he is normally working feverishly back home at the Pole this time of year, but stated: “There is no place I’d rather be on this milestone occasion than right here with the Operation Gratitude Volunteers, as we express our immense appreciation to all of our courageous men and women in uniform who are far away from their homes and loved ones this Holiday season.”

 

Special Guests Join the Assembly Line

More Exciting Gifts for the 300,000th Package

Operation Gratitude Volunteers were honored to work side by side with Major General William Wade, the Adjutant General of California, who enthusiastically filled and labeled packages on the Assembly Line.  Also joining the 1000-strong crowd were actress Patricia Heaton from EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and BACK TO YOU, and cast members from NBC-Universal’s shows DAYS OF OUR LIVES and COASTAL DREAMS: Jay Kenneth Johnson, Kristian Alfonso (shown here with NBC-UNI employee and Operation Gratitude Supervisor Tommy Reuter), Kam Heskin and Charlie Kozick. Days and Tommy In addition to the Jeep Liberty keys and Emergen-C products, the 300,000th Care Package also includes a box of cigars donated personally by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, copies of the Operation Gratitude greeting card, Magazine and “A General’s Spiritual Journey” all autographed by Lt. General Hal Moore, autographed pictures from Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and John Travolta, batteries from “Troop Batteries,” and The King and His Court-Operation Gratitude 5 foot by 7 foot Banner signed by hundreds of supporters from all over the country.

During the lunch hour, Volunteers were treated to a delicious meal generously provided by Maria’s Italian Kitchen.  Corporate Sponsors Alacer (Emergen-C), Before and After Mints and Pitbull Energy Bars distributed samples of their products that had also been donated for the packages.

 

The Message and the Meaning of 300,000 Packages

Weights and Measurements

Addressing the record-breaking group, Operation Gratitude founder Carolyn Blashek enumerated several reasons to celebrate the milestone package: To highlight the extraordinary efforts of the Volunteers, to acknowledge the enormous generosity of the individual and Corporate donors, and to publicize to the world, and especially to the troops, the immense appreciation and support that exists for our Military.


To illustrate the magnitude of 300,000 packages, Blashek provided some statistics:

1. Each Operation Gratitude care package weighs, on average, 7 pounds-which means the organization has sent over 2 MILLION POUNDS or more than 1000 TONS of product to our troops!

2. Each Operation Gratitude care package contains an average of 40 items, which means the group has sent at least 12 MILLION items overseas!

3. Each Operation Gratitude package costs $10 to ship ($8.95 postage plus related costs), which means that the non-profit , all-volunteer organization has raised at least $3 Million since its inception.  Revealing the second milestone of the day, Blashek announced that the organization had just received its One-Millionth Dollar donation for the year, drawing cheers from the Volunteers, and eliciting more pledges to help raise the additional $200,000 needed to send the remaining Holiday care packages for this year.

Blashek emphasized that every dollar donated is used solely to assemble and ship the care packages: no salaries are paid and no funds are used to raise additional funds (such as through direct mail campaigns or advertising).

 

Flanking the 2008 Jeep Liberty that escorted Santa Claus, Operation Gratitude Supervisors are joined by members of the U.S. Military All-Stars Baseball Team and Jeep Brand’s Stephen Quinn, who placed the keys into the 300,000th Care Package for special delivery to a randomly selected service member deployed overseas.  For more pictures of the Event, as well as photos of troops receiving Operation Gratitude packages, visit the Photo Gallery on the website.  To read about the impact of the packages, see the Mail Call section.

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