When we express gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for our emotions, and make us feel good. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside. If we practice gratitude daily, we can strengthen and create a grateful and positive nature within ourselves which builds our inner strength to combat stress.¹
But what does it mean to our service members to receive not just reminders from home, but also expressions of gratitude from Americans everywhere? They get that dopamine boost as well! That unexpected show of gratitude can mean a powerful improvement in morale and general wellbeing.
For Deployed Troops, sometimes reminders of home can be few and far between, so letters and Care Packages from people who care are tremendously valuable and can help reduce the stress of a tough deployment and being far from home. Without a doubt, Mail Call remains a favorite time of each day for those deployed, but sadly, many troops don’t receive mail during Mail Call. This can bring on feelings of isolation, which sometimes leads to depression.
At Operation Gratitude, our goal is not only to put Care Packages into the hands of Deployed Troops and First Responders; we are also committed to lifting the spirits of the men and women who serve and sacrifice for our country every day.
The impact of an Operation Gratitude Care Package is evident in the letters we get from recipients. Here are just a few:
“Hello, I just wanted to say that while since joining I’ve gotten a couple cards from you guys and it has always made my day. I just received a box from you guys and it meant a lot to me. I’m currently overseas and am on a mission that’s been stressful. I’ve gotten extended and have just received bad news after bad news. This package came right when I really needed something to hold onto. My birthday was going to be a pretty lonely day so this really made it better. I appreciate what you guys do and just wanted to say thank you for always having us in your heart.” – Alexia B.
“Thank you for the Care Package… It still brings a smile to my face whenever I get a Package from Home. And when I say HOME… I’m talking about the good Ole’ USA 🙂 My Soldiers really appreciate the Support from you guys. Once again… Thank You!” – Michael P.
Alexia B. sums up our feelings and these words are worth repeating: “I appreciate what you guys do and just wanted to say thank you for always having us in your heart.”
Join us on the journey! Your kindness and generosity are vital to our mission, and the wellbeing of our service members. There are several ways to get involved:
- Write letters to our troops and First Responders and send them to us. Our fall letter writing campaign for kids of all ages will launch in September and will be a great opportunity for the whole family to stay engaged and let our service members and First Responders know you care.
- Make Paracord Survival Bracelets with your friends, family, or groups to add to our signature Care Packages.
- Fundraise for Operation Gratitude on social media, host fun activities like car washes or bake sales, fundraising through our website, or through hosting collection drives. Just $25 puts a Care Package in the hands of a service member.
- Volunteer with us at an upcoming event.
With each Care Package sent, Operation Gratitude is not only lifting the spirits of our Deployed Troops, but we are giving our Volunteers across the country an opportunity to express their appreciation for men and women in uniform.
If you are experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety, please visit NAMI.com or, using your iPhone, tell Siri: “Hey Siri, I’m feeling depressed.” She will give you contact information for NAMI.com.
You are not alone.
¹Behavioral Health Report, North Dakota