We are excited to announce a strategic new partnership with veteran-focused disaster relief organization Team Rubicon to send “First Responder Kits” to volunteers assisting with natural disaster and crisis relief efforts world-wide.
The “First Responder Kits” (FR Kits) will be assembled at our headquarters in Van Nuys, CA and shipped to every Team Rubicon volunteer across the country. Each FR Kit will contain an assortment of useful, donated items placed in an Operation Gratitude drawstring backpack for easy transport at a moment’s notice.
Most of the Team Rubicon volunteers are recent U.S. Military veterans. “We sent care packages and supported these heroic service members while they were deployed overseas in combat zones,” says Operation Gratitude founder, Carolyn Blashek. “Now that they are serving our country and the world by assisting with natural disasters and humanitarian relief, we will continue to express our deep appreciation and respect to them through our First Responder Kits.”
Team Rubicon co-founder William McNulty agrees that the partnership between the two organizations makes perfect sense: “Team Rubicon engages U.S. military veterans, many returning home after fighting ten years of war, and offers a renewed sense of purpose for their skills and experiences,” he said. “The FR Kits will provide our volunteers with essential gear as well as morale-boosting encouragement from fellow Americans who are grateful for their continued service.” (Watch the recent CNN story about Team Rubicon and its co-founder Jake Wood on YouTube here: CNN Hero: Jake Wood.)
As with our other programs, we will rely on the generosity of the American people — individuals and corporate sponsors — to supply, assemble and ship the initial 5,000 FR Kits by the end of June, 2012.
We are seeking both product donations to fill the FR Kits as well as financial donations to pay our assembly and shipping costs of $75,000.
So — by now you may be wondering: How can I help? We are so glad you asked!
The following is our “Wish List” for items we need for the FR Kits: AA and AAA batteries; quick-drying, medium-sized towels; energy bars; sporks (combination utensil/tool); heavy work gloves (size Large); head lamps; safety glasses; all-weather spiral notebooks; pens; Leatherman-style tools; Nalgene water bottles and handmade Paracord “Survival” Bracelets. (See a Paracord Bracelet pictured, left. Learn more about them here: How to Make a Paracord Bracelet.)
Please consider organizing a “collection drive” to gather FR Kit items for us. (Find an informational flyer about “How to Host a Collection Drive” on our website: http://www.operationgratitude.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/CollectionDrive.pdf) Product donations may be shipped to:
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: First Responder Program
Note: If you want confirmation of delivery on your shipments of item donations prior to receipt of our acknowledgment letter (allow up to 12 weeks), please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.
Financial donations are welcome and may be made online: https://www.operationgratitude.com/donate/
Or by check payable to Operation Gratitude and mailed to:
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436
In keeping with our mission of providing “hands-on” opportunities to say “Thank You” to our nation’s heroes, we encourage our supporters all over the country to make Paracord “Survival” Bracelets to include in each First Responder Kit, as well as in the care packages to deployed troops.
More information and instructions can be found here: How to Make a Paracord Bracelet.
Thank you for your generous support to make all this possible!