What does it take to change the lives of a company of troops deployed overseas and away from home, or remind a first responder that we are proud of his service to his community?
This year, our goal is to deliver 525,600 of those Care Packages — one for every minute of the year! Here is your opportunity to join other grateful Americans all over the country, to show your support through Operation Gratitude and Make Every Minute Count in 2019.
Here are the 7 ways:
1. Write Letters
Heartfelt, personal messages from individuals mean so much to our Care Package recipients, many of whom are deployed overseas, away from home and loved ones. Feel free to share a bit about yourself, talk about the latest sports news, or even draw or paint a picture. This is also a great way to get kids involved at home, school, church, or a club. The personal connection of a simple handwritten letter or drawing can be all it takes to remind a deployed service member that his or her service truly means something. We hear time and again that handwritten letters are the most cherished items in our Care Packages.
Learn about sending letters of appreciation to Operation Gratitude here: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/write-letters/
2. Knitting Scarves and Hats
Many Care Package recipients are stationed in cold environments, so we include handknit scarves and hats in every care package during the winter. In order for us to ensure this is possible, we need your knitting and crocheting talents now! And if you don’t know how to knit or crochet, what better reason is there to learn! Get creative, have fun, and consider forming a knitting club with your friends! We often receive large boxes filled with handmade-with-love gifts from groups and communities all over the country, and each soft scarf or hat will keep one of our heroes warm in body and in spirit. Much like the handwritten letters, these gifts mean that much more because a grateful American, somewhere in the United States, took the time to create each one individually.
Learn about donating handmade scarves and hats here: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/handmade-with-love/
3. Make Paracord Bracelets
Speaking of handmade items, did you know you can make something at home that can actually save a life? Paracord Bracelets are simple, handmade bracelets created out of parachute cord, which you can buy easily online directly from Operation Gratitude. If the situation calls for it, a Paracord Bracelet can be unwound in order to secure equipment, haul heavy objects (up to 550 lbs!), or make a temporary sling for a rifle. They’re incredibly useful for our deployed troops and first responders—and they look pretty cool too!
Learn about making and donating Paracord Bracelets here: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/paracord-bracelets/
4. Start your own Fundraiser
It costs us $15 to send a single Care Package. Every year, thousands of Americans generously donate to Operation Gratitude, and it has allowed us to send over 2.3 million Care Packages. In order for us to Make Every Minute Count and send 525,600 Care Packages in 2019, we need your continued support. But not only can you donate directly yourself—but you can also set up a creative and effective fundraiser!
We make it super simple! All you have to do is follow the link below, create a fundraising page for the activity or event of your choice, and then share the page with your friends and family. We list the top fundraising teams and individuals on our website. Get competitive for a good cause!
Learn more about Fundraising for Operation Gratitude here: https://giving.operationgratitude.com/campaign/support-our-heroes/c140501
5. Donate items from our Wish List
There are certain items we include in every package to keep our recipients happy and healthy, often in very extreme settings. Sunscreen, lip balm, deodorant, and hand wipes might seem “everyday” for us at home, and we might take even take them for granted, but our men and women in uniform often do not have access to such things when they’re in harm’s way. Make a difference for them by donating these items to Operation Gratitude today!
Check out our Wish List: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/wish-list/
6. Donate Beanie Babies
This one might surprise you, but Beanie Babies and other plush toys are a vital component of Operation Gratitude Care Packages! Many recipients say they provide a cute, fun way to brighten the atmosphere of their barracks. They later bring their new “friends” home to their children following deployment. And, interestingly, our troops often give the toys to local children in order to build goodwill and gather information, which keeps them safe. In the words of one service member: “Not only are you putting smiles on our faces; you are saving our lives.”
Learn more about donating Beanie Babies: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/beanie-babies/
7. Attend an Assembly Day
How could we complete this list without mentioning our awesome Assembly Days? This is where the magic happens, where we actually assemble, organize, and ship our Care Packages. Hundreds of individuals, groups, companies, and families attend each Assembly Day and join together in support of the Operation Gratitude cause. Not only is it a great way to spend the day and become a part of a new community, but it’s also an opportunity to see the tangible results of all our hard work. At the end of the day, thousands of Care Packages are assembled and ready to be sent to the men and women who need them — and you helped make it happen!
Find an Assembly Day near you here: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/events/
There are so many ways, big and small, that we can say, “thank you” to our nation’s heroes, and they all make a difference. Now is the time for us to answer the call to support our troops, veterans, and first responders. Volunteer, donate, and let your actions speak louder than words.
Help us Make Every Minute Count in 2019!