As we hit the heat of the summer, the image of logs crackling in the fireplace and casting a glow on stockings hung above is probably the last thing to come to mind for most people. However, for Operation Gratitude and our growing army of volunteers nationwide, that holiday spirit is in full swing this month. Together with CSX Pride in Service, Operation Gratitude is celebrating Christmas in July by shipping 10,000 Care Packages for Deployed Troops across the globe.
Over the next few days, Operation Gratitude team members, partners from CSX, and volunteers are gathering at the D.C. National Guard Armory to spread Christmas cheer to our nation’s servicemen and women deployed overseas. During this week alone, 5,000 individually addressed care packages will be assembled and then distributed to Deployed Troops in all corners of the world. We have been hard at work and are excited to share our progress.
Time and again, our organization hears from recipients that it’s the personal touch of the handmade items and handwritten expressions included in each and every care package that have the greatest impact. Earlier this month we received the following message from a deployed airman.
Thank you so much for the amazing care packages you sent to all of the members of the 163rd SFS. Words can not express how thankful we are for all your support and the incredible goodies. You are so thoughtful and we truly appreciate everything you’re doing for all the US service members. Your generosity is truly heartfelt. I will always remember your support and how you brighten everyone’s spirits.
163rd Security Forces, March Air Reserve Base
Christmas is a time of togetherness, but Operation Gratitude knows service members long for the familiar feeling of home year-round. Speaking from my own experiences, being away from loved ones on Independence Day and on summer vacation is just as difficult as during the holiday season.
With the help of one million volunteers, our organization will continue to deliver care packages year-round as a physical representation of appreciation for our troops’ service and sacrifice. You can help by writing letters to our troops with messages to lift their spirits.
If you are in or around the Los Angeles area, we are once again opening our doors to volunteers! Please consider joining us at our headquarters, aka “The FOB” for in-person volunteering. The safety of our volunteers and recipients is top priority; pre-registration is required. See you at the FOB!
Each and every one of you can help us accomplish our mission to forge strong bonds between Americans and their military and first responder heroes through letter writing.
We see the results every day in the eyes of those we serve. One positive interaction between a civilian and a service member can create a ripple effect in a community — creating more empathy and understanding in its wake. Together we are building bridges between those who serve and the citizens they protect.