OperationGratitude

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How You Can Help


At this time, our most urgent needs are for:
~Personal letters for Deployed Troops, Veterans and Wounded Warriors;
~Hand-made Scarves and Paracord Bracelets;
~Beanie Babies/WebKinz/Trolls; and
~Financial donations to pay for production and shipping expenses ($15/package).

NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN 2014!!!
Would you like to hand-deliver Operation Gratitude Care Packages to Veterans in your area?
Would you like to be an Official Operation Gratitude Ambassador in your community?
If yes, then email Ann at opgrat@gmail.com for more details.

CORPORATE & BUSINESS SUPPORT / VOLUNTEERISM
Click here or email Dana Chotiner at dana@operationgratitude.com

Scroll Down for Details on these Ways to Help:
1. Donate Financially
2. Organize a Fundraiser
3. Collect:
Halloween Candy
Beanie Babies/Webkinz/Trolls
Girl/Boy Scout Cookies, Nuts, Popcorn
4. Hand-Made Craft Projects:
Knit/Crochet Scarves
Sew Bandana Cool-Ties
Braid Paracord Bracelets
Create Greeting Cards
5. Volunteering at Armory
6. Write Letters:
To Currently Deployed Service Members
To Veterans of All Generations
7. Fundraise through Recycling
8. Donate Your Vehicle
9. Fundraise by Searching the Internet and by Shopping
10. Join Our Mailing List and Spread the Word
11. Detailed Shipping Information


View Operation Gratitude Posters Here

Email OpGrat@gmail.com if you would like digital files to reproduce copies (designed to print out as 22″ x 28″).

Click for Flyers:
10 Ways To Help
Letter Writing
Letter Writing for Teachers
Organize a Collection Drive
The Scarf Project
Donate Your Vehicle
Girl Scouts: Troops to Troops
Cell Phone & Smartphone Collection
Halloween Candy: Tips for Dentists
Halloween Candy Give-Back
Halloween Candy Buy-Back: Dentists
Paracord Survival Bracelets
Care Kit Assembly
Donor Form- to be completed for all item  donations and included in carton(s)

1. Donate financially by mail or online.
Monetary donations to Operation Gratitude are used to pay for production, shipping and communication expenses required to send the care packages. Our cost for each package averages $15. Operation Gratitude sends 100-150,000 care packages each year, creating a cash budget of $2 Million per year.

Your donation of any amount will be greatly appreciated.  More than 97% of all donations are devoted to Program Services.  Only 2.6% of  funds raised is used for administrative and fundraising expenses.

Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) organization; all donations are tax deductible as provided by law.

Please make checks payable and send to:
Operation Gratitude
P.O. Box 260257
Encino, California 91426-0257
*DO NOT SEND ITEMS or CANDY TO ENCINO ADDRESS THEY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED; SHIPMENTS WILL BE REJECTED, or DISCARDED
Please see below for item shipping address.

To donate online, please click here or this Donate Button:

Paypal Donations can be made here: PAYPAL.

TRIBUTES: If you would like to make a donation in someone’s honor or memory, please include the name and address of the person you would like notified (in the designated form field if donating online, or on a note if sending a check), and we will mail a beautiful tribute letter to them; donors will receive a letter of acknowledgment for tax purposes.

TRIBUTE CARDS: We also have lovely Tribute Cards that you can include in your Holiday (or other) Greeting cards indicating that you have made a donation to Operation Gratitude in honor of your friends, relatives, business associates, customers, etc.  These make beautiful and very meaningful gifts at any time of year, but especially for the Holidays.

We welcome and appreciate any donation amount.  With Tribute donations, we respectfully suggest a minimum amount of $15 to cover the cost of one care package.

Please contact ptmarty@aol.com or cheryl@operationgratitude.com to request or learn more about the Tribute Cards.

Every $15 donated sends another care package: You may be able to double or even triple your donation!  Many companies have matching gift programs, which means they’ll match your donation, or maybe even double or triple it!  Please check with your Human Resources/Personnel office to learn if your donation is eligible for a matching donation.

For all questions regarding financial donations, please email cheryl@OperationGratitude.com or  cazerah@aol.com

2. Organize a Fundraising Event

If you have an idea for a fundraiser to benefit Operation Gratitude, please email OpGrat@gmail.com.  For some fun possibilities, check out our Great Ideas page or the Fundraiser Ideas site.

3. Organize a Collection Drive

Collection Drives for Operation Gratitude are an active and fun way for your friends, neighbors, members, scouts and/or students to show their support for our troops.

To begin your Collection Drive:
1. Notify your constituency of the dates, times and location of collection
2. Specify what items you will accept (See Wish List).
3. Encourage donations of Stuffed Animals and Hand-made Scarves
4. Encourage Writing of personal letters
5. Donated items must be delivered by May 5 for Patriotic Drive and by December 5 for Holiday Drive.
6. If you want confirmation of delivery on your shipment to us prior to receipt of our acknowledgment letter, please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.

Shipping Address for Item and Letter Donations:
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Rich Hernandez

Please See Detailed Shipping Information below.

A. Halloween Candy:
~We welcome your excess Halloween Candy for our care packages!
~Check out our Halloween Candy Video on YouTube: Halloween Video
~”Like” our Halloween Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/HalloweenCandy
~ Please separate chocolate from non-chocolate candy and send in separate cartons, labeled accordingly.  Sorry, but we cannot send Pixy Stix in our care packages; please remove before donating your candy to us-Thank you!
~Dentists: Please post your flyers on the Halloween Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/HalloweenCandy to let the public know you are participating
~Everyone Else: We welcome your excess candy.  Operation Gratitude receives over 120 tons of candy each year, please do not spend money to purchase candy to donate to us.  Instead, please consider donating those funds to help pay for shipping costs of candy boxes sent to our troops.  Every $15 received sends another care package.
~ Flyers:
Halloween Candy: Tips for Dentists
Halloween Candy Give-Back
Halloween Candy Buy-Back: Dentists

Shipping Address for Candy Donations:
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Halloween Candy

NOTES:
1.  Candy sent to any other address will be refused or destroyed.  This is the only acceptable address to ship candy and other item donations
2. If you would like the weight of the candy to be included in your “Thank You” letter, please weigh your candy and indicate on the donor form. For our acknowledgment and “thank you” letter purposes, if the donation is a cooperative effort it is important that all donors be identified regarding who is donating candy/items and who is donating postage costs. Please let us know if there is more than one donor on the Donor Form. (Need more room? Please list additional donor info on back of form).

*Please See “Detailed Shipping Information” below.

B. Beanie Babies/Webkinz/Trolls:
We received the following letter from a Marine:
“I live with 17 Marines and Sailors in one room. Everyone got a package and everyone loved it especially the cookies and beanie babies. The cookies are excellent and the beanie babies help us out a lot with the local kids. We give them candy and toys and they give us the location for IED’s. Once again, thank you for everything and for all the hard work that you put into the package. LCPL ND”

Your old Beanie Baby, Webkinz and Troll collections can save the lives of our heroes!
Please donate them to our cause–they will be priceless.

C. Girl and Boy Scout Troops:
We are delighted to work with you on a “Troops to Troops” program for your cookie, nut and popcorn sales. Encourage your buyers to purchase additional products to donate to Operation Gratitude for our care packages! Please email OpGrat@gmail.com for more information and sample flyers.
Boy Scout Eagle Projects – please email OpGrat@gmail.com for information and completing required paperwork.

See below for Shipping Instructions

4. Craft Projects:

a) Knit/Crochet Scarves (5-6″ Wide, 45-48″ long)
***Feel free to use your own “recipe” or see samples on Scarf Project Blog.***
For more information on The Scarf Project, please visit:
FAQs at: http://www.operationgratitude.com/scarf-hat-cool-tie-project-details-materials-size-patterns/
Sample Patterns, please click here: PATTERNS: Scarves-Hats
or email  OpGratScarves@gmail.com
We need 60,000 scarves for the holiday packages–please help!

** We receive many inquiries regarding acceptable fiber for the scarves.  Please know that the scarves and hats we send are gifts. We take ALL types of scarves, made from whatever fibers our volunteer knitters care to use. The service members often wear the scarves and hats we send while they are off-duty.

We also need yarn for knitters who cannot afford to purchase it.  Please consider donating skeins of yarn to us.

b) Bandana Cool-Tie Project (for summer packages):
Here’s a great craft project for school, scout, social and community groups:
Follow this link for pattern and directions. Pattern: Cool-Ties and  http://www.watersorb.com/polymer_cool_neck_bands.htm
Follow this link to buy the water-absorbing polymer granules needed for your Cool Ties: http://www.watersorb.com/mainstore.html
Please use tan, brown, desert camouflage or other neutral colored cotton. No American flag fabric please.

c) Paracord Survival Bracelet Directions:
An easy and fun project that only takes minutes to complete!  Help us include a Survival Bracelet in every care package.
Please see: How to Make a Paracord Bracelet   and Make a Weaving Apparatus
We welcome Paracord Bracelets year-round.
STUDENTS: Earn community service credit for making the bracelets: 1 hour for every 5 bracelets submitted.  If mailing the bracelets, please include a Self-addressed Stamped Envelope for the Community Service Certificate and a Donation Form.
Need to buy materials or have questions?  For individuals and non-corporate groups please email Kelly at OpGratParacord@gmail.com or http://bit.ly/XwtUIq

d) Hand-made Greeting Cards:
We welcome hand-made cards with your personal messages on them or blank cards that the troops can use to write to their loved ones (or to you!).

See below for Shipping Directions

5. Volunteering at the Armory

If you are in the Southern California area and would like to assist in the packaging of the gift boxes, please contact us for details at: OpGratVolunteer1@yahoo.com.  Write “Operation Gratitude Volunteer” in the subject line.

Children 12 years and older are welcome in the armory; 12-16 year old volunteers must have a responsible adult with them on the premises at all times.

For more information, click here: Volunteer Schedule and  watch this video: Volunteers at the Armory
To download and print the Volunteer Release Form, click here: RELEASE FORM
To receive all Volunteer updates by email, click here:  Mailing List

We work with numerous Veterans organizations locally and across the country to provide an opportunity for Veterans to continue to serve their country by serving their comrades currently in arms. Veterans are encouraged and welcome to volunteer in person at our facility and/or organize product collection drives, letter writing campaigns and fundraising events in their own communities.  Some of the groups we work with on a regular basis include: The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jewish Veterans, Korean Veterans Association, Women’s Marine Association and Wings Over Wendy’s.

6. Write Letters

Operation Gratitude strives to include several personal letters in every package that we send.  Help ensure that a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman knows that you are thinking of them by writing cards or letters.  It will only take 5 minutes out of your day to write a letter, but it will bring joy to our troops that will last a lifetime.

What to Write About
Keep your message upbeat and positive
Be thankful ~~ share a little bit of yourself
Ask questions; however, do not discuss death or killing
Avoid politics completely and religion in excess
It’s all about appreciation and respect
Ask yourself:  “Will this letter bring a smile to someone’s face?”

More Helpful Information
Sample salutations: Dear Hero, Dear Brave One
Include your own mail or email so recipients can choose to reply (Students: Use first name only)
TEACHERS: Please use your name and school address on the students’ letters.
No stamps or envelopes are needed
Hand Written letters or cards are most appreciated.
All letters will  be screened—please do not seal envelopes
Send multiple letters together in one large mailing envelope or box

Wounded Warrior Program: We send special packages to Wounded service members who are recovering in Military hospitals and/or Wounded Warrior Transition Units.  If you would like to send letters specifically for our wounded heroes, please send them in a separate envelope marked “Wounded Warriors.”

Veterans Care Package Program: We send special packages to Veterans of prior eras:  World War II, Korea, Vietnam especially.  We want our Veterans to know that their service is forever appreciated and remembered.    Please help us honor these Veterans by writing special cards and letters to them and send them to us in a separate envelope marked: “Veterans.”

If you do not receive a reply from our Deployed Troops, Wounded Warriors or Veterans, do not be discouraged.
Remember:  Our troops are busy!

We accept letters all year.
Download our Letter Writing Flyer here: Letter Flyer

7. Recycling Campaigns:

Recycling is a great way to support our troops and contribute to Operation Gratitude at no cost!

a) GRC Wireless Recycling will pay Operation Gratitude for every used cell phone, ink-jet cartridge, laptop computer, IPOD or PDA received in our name and will pre-pay the shipping expenses. GRC will design a program tailored to your company’s needs and develop marketing and collection materials free of charge.

SmartphoneTradeIn.com: YOU earn money for your smartphone and support Operation Gratitude too! Smartphone TradeIn will contribute $5 to Operation Gratitude for every smartphone processed.  The $5 contribution is in addition to the money paid to you for your smartphone. Learn how you can earn money and support our troops at the same time!

Students Earn Community Service Hours Through Cell Phone Collection & Recycling
Students everywhere can earn community service hours through the collection and recycling of used cell phones. Through this free, easy and exciting program, students can help the environment, raise money for Operation Gratitude, and earn community service hours!

For more information, please contact Michele Triana at
info@grcrecycling.com
Phone: 954-744-3646

b) Access Recycling will pay Operation Gratitude for every used cell phone, ink-jet cartridge, toner cartridge, laptop computer, IPOD, PDA or video received, and will pre-pay the shipping expenses. For more information, click here: Recycle For our Troops!  If you have questions, please contact: gratitude@accessrecycling.com


8. Donate Your Vehicle

To CarsForUSTroops – Proceeds will benefit Operation Gratitude!
Phone: 800-304-2155

9. Fundraise While You Search or Shop:

This is a great way to do your everyday shopping and support our troops at the same time!
a) The Operation Gratitude Ebay Store: 100% of proceeds directly benefit Operation Gratitude!  Huge Variety of items including OpGrat “Swag” only available here!
b) Cafe Press Operation Gratitude Store: Purchase Operation Gratitude-logo items; a portion of every item purchase is donated to Operation Gratitude.
c) Buy and Sell on Ebay: 10-100% of auction proceeds are designated to Operation Gratitude.
d) Great Ideas: Support our Supporters and Support our troops at the same time!
f) GoodSearch.com is an internet search engine that donates a penny per search to Operation Gratitude. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results and help us send more care packages to the troops every time you search!
g) Use your Ralph’s Supermarket Rewards Card
For detailed instructions, click here:  Rewards Card
h) ArtfulVision.com: view the variety of unique art and craft gifts — all created by artists here in the U.S.A. 20% of the purchase price goes to Operation Gratitude.

10. Spread the Word and Join Our Mailing List

Please forward this web site to everyone and anyone you know who might be interested in helping Operation Gratitude.  Also: Join us on Twitter and Facebook:
Twitter: www.twitter.com/OpGratitude
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OperationGratitude or
Text “fan OperationGratitude” to 32665 (FBOOK)
And then encourage all your Facebook and Twitter friends to join us too!
Receive News and Updates by email, click here: Mailing List

11. Detailed Shipping Information

1. Donation Form:

Please print out this form:  Donor Form, complete it and include a completed form in EVERY carton you send to Operation Gratitude.  This form is required in order to receive an acknowledgment of receipt from us.   If you cannot access the link, please email us to receive a copy.

NOTE: If the donation is a cooperative effort, it is important that all donors be identified regarding who is donating items and who is donating postage costs – please include multiple Donor info on the back of the form, with a note on front “see back for additional information.”

2. Dates to Ship:

a. We prefer donations of  Wish List items be made during the following time periods: (for storage purposes)
March 15 to May 5  &  September 15 to December 5
b. We accept Letters, Paracord Bracelets and Financial Donations year-round.
c. Halloween candy must be received by mid-November

3. ADDRESS: Ship donated items, with this Donor Form (click to access) to:***

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Donations

NOTE: ITEM DONATIONS SENT TO ANY OTHER ADDRESS WILL BE REJECTED OR DISCARDED

***In order to receive an acknowledgment for donated items, you must include this Donor Form inside every carton. If sending more than one carton, a Donation Form must be included in each carton.  Please indicate the total number of cartons being sent so we can be sure we have received all of them.

4. Financial donations:

If you are also sending checks, please send separately from items/letters (to avoid losing them) with a note referencing the item/letter donation to:
Operation Gratitude
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436

*IMPORTANT: Do NOT send items or candy to this Encino addressthey will not be accepted; SHIPMENTS WILL BE REJECTED OR DISCARDED.

5. In-person deliveries can be made during our Volunteer Hours of Operation as stated on the website.

6. Shipping Tips:

a. Use a durable, heavy-duty box and pack with appropriate weight for that box; Not to exceed 50 lbs. per box, please.
b. The ideal carton size is:  24″ x 24″ x 20″ or smaller.
c. To protect your item donations in the event of box damage during transit, we suggest you enclose the contents in a ziplock or other sealable plastic bag.
d. Please use the most economical method from your location.  You can check the websites of the various shippers (UPS, USPS, Fed-Ex, DHL) and get their respective prices based on weight and size of package.  Some of these outlets are allowed to offer discounts, as they are owned as franchises. e. You can also check with local moving or freight companies–they may be willing to add your donation to their load for very little money (or for free) if they are heading this way anyway.
f. If funds for shipping are an issue, you can check with local Veterans’ groups and/or civic organizations (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions) to see if any would partner with you to cover the shipping.
g. Thank you for understanding that Operation Gratitude cannot pay for shipping donations to our facility, as we need every penny of our funds to pay the cost of sending the care packages to the troops: $15/package.

7. Acknowledgments:**

a. All financial donations will be acknowledged.
b. If you would like to receive an acknowledgment for donated items, you must include this Donor Form (click to access) inside every carton in your shipment.
c. Acknowledgment letters will be sent within three (3) months.
d. Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) organization; donations are tax deductible as provided by law.

8. Confirmation of Delivery:

** If you want confirmation of delivery on your shipment to us prior to receipt of our acknowledgment letter, please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.

9. Use of Donations:

Operation Gratitude welcomes donations of all products in furtherance of its mission to support our Military.  We reserve the right to determine the appropriate use of each donated item, including but not limited to inclusion in our care packages, donation to Military bases or other charities, and/or for fundraising or volunteer appreciation purposes.

10. More Support Information:

For more information about supporting Operation Gratitude, please email OpGrat@gmail.com and we will send our full support email with attached flyers.

To receive email updates and news from Operation Gratitude, click here: Mailing List

For legal and security reasons, Operation GratitudeSM is not at liberty to provide or disclose the names and addresses of service members. For additional information or to discuss your involvement in greater detail, please email OpGrat@gmail.com

Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and patriotic support of our troops!