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August 2006 Newsletter

posted on Aug 23 2006 0 Comments


Operation Gratitude Newsletter

Dear Friends

With your generous support, our Patriotic Drive 2006 was an incredible success!! Not only did we send our 150,000th care package, but we sent a total of 41,625 packages to bring our overall tally to 153,047 packages sent since our inception!

Much will be happening for Operation Gratitude over the next few months, including the launch of our 2006 Holiday Drive. We hope you will enjoy reading about all of our events in this Summer Newsletter!


The 150,000th Package Arrives in Iraq!

http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=sadjwxbab.0.0.9dmzolbab.0&ts=S0200&p=http://www.opgratitude.com Starting in April and continuing well into the heat of the summer, the fearless Operation Gratitude Volunteers led by the fantastic “Hard Corps” joyfully dedicated themselves to receiving, inspecting and sorting the tens of thousands of donations shipped from more than 3000 collection drives throughout the nation. Through the placement of collection bins and signage at the majority of its more than 800 restaurants nationwide, our Official Drop-Off Partner, Checkers/Rally’s Restaurants collected nearly 200 large boxes of donated gifts weighing a total of more than 4,000 lbs. to send to U.S. Troops through Operation Gratitude.
During the Armed Forces, Memorial Day and Fathers Day Weekends, more than 1000 volunteers gathered at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, CA to assemble the Patriotic Care Packages. California First Lady Maria Shriver attended the first day of the Drive, to thank the Volunteers, assemble many boxes and personally label packages for a California National Guard unit deployed in Iraq.

The gift boxes were filled with items donated by 62 Corporate Friends and Sponsors and thousands of individual donors. Items included Girl Scout Cookies, Flash Drives, Water Bottles, Headsets, DVDs, Music CDs, Disposable Cameras, Energy Drinks and Bars, Snacks, Candy, T-shirts, Socks, Cool-Ties and Fans, AA Batteries, EZ Scores Cards, Phone Cards, Coffee, Popcorn, Sunscreen, Breath Mints, Lotions, Magazines, Pens, Detergent, Personal Letters of Appreciation and various other goodies.

The 150,000th care package was received by Marine Lcpl William James, a 20-year-old rifleman from San Diego assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Lcpl James received a portable DVD player, DVDs, a flash memory stick, and candies and treats to snack on. The real prize was at the bottom of the box – a Gift Certificate for a stay in a Las Vegas hotel. James said he plans on making good use of the free stay in Las Vegas. “I turn 21 the day our leave block starts when we get back from Iraq,” James said. “So getting the trip to Vegas is pretty convenient.”



Troops send emails, letters and pictures

http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=sadjwxbab.0.0.9dmzolbab.0&ts=S0200&p=http://www.opgratitude.com/view_album.php?album=41 The Operation Gratitude Patriotic Packages arrived at their destinations in record time!! Our thanks once again go out to the wonderful men and women at the Van Nuys Regional U.S. Post Office, joined by Postal Employees from many other offices in the area, who put in numerous overtime hours to ensure that our packages were processed as quickly as possible. And the troops who received the packages have been sending their thanks to all of you:
An Army Medic wrote:
Thank You for keeping our spirits up! Your packages have helped us in some unexpected ways. Some time ago we received several of your packages at the Battalion Aid Station where I work. We placed them in our waiting room, and our patients would rummage through them taking what they liked and needed. A soldier stopped by and asked if he could take everything that was left. Two weeks later he stopped again. He had taken the boxes out on one of his patrols and given them to a couple local families. These families in turn gave out the names and locations of insurgents in the area. Your boxes saved the lives of many soldiers who patrol the streets where these insurgents were setting up bombs. Not only are your boxes lifting spirits they are also saving lives. That makes you our Heroes! Once again Thank You for all you’ve done for us. You never know how completely you can affect someone’s life. SPC S.R.

And from a Sailor:
In fifteen years in the Navy, this is a first – receiving a care package from complete strangers that support the U.S. military. I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am and for a few of my fellow sailors this was their only piece of mail received during the deployment. Please know that the letters received – in my opinion – were the most valuable gifts inside your care-packages. Sometimes, a kind word is the most uplifting experience one can have and allows us the opportunity to reach a bit further within ourselves, during the tough times. I appreciate that our nation’s freedom is not taken for granted, as displayed by the kindness represented in the Operation Gratitude organization and the kind letters from fellow Americans. Thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness. Respectfully and sincerely, D.S.



As Holiday Drive Approaches

http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=sadjwxbab.0.0.9dmzolbab.0&ts=S0200&p=http://www.opgratitude.com/gallery.php Our non-profit, all-volunteer program has grown dramatically, now involving more than 2000 local volunteers assembling close to 100,000 care packages annually. The increased operational military needs of the National Guard combined with the amount of assembly and storage space required to accommodate the product for our care packages have resulted in our need to leave the Van Nuys, California National Guard Armory in which we had been operating since November, 2003.
We are feverishly looking for a new facility! At a minimum, we need 7-10,000 square feet of mostly open warehouse space in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Anyone with leads and specific contact information is urged to contact our Director of Operations, Charlie Othold by email at othold @yahoo.com or call: 818-437-6201.

The Holiday Drive packaging will start over the Veterans Day Weekend, November 10-12 and continue through mid-December. We urge all supporters to start organizing their collection drives and letter writing campaigns NOW, as we will need alot of products to fill 40,000+ Holiday Packages! We will start accepting donations as soon as we are in our new facility.

We are looking for all our usual Wish List items of snack and entertainment products. In addition, due to their previous popularity, we are particularly requesting: Computer Flash Drives, DVDs of movies and TV shows, Music CDs and Beef Jerky.

As D.S. wrote above, reading the letters included in our packages is a real highlight of the troops’ day. We urge all supporters to write as many letters as possible; please include your name and address in each letter so the recipients can choose to write back. Teachers: this is a wonderful class project for your students! We have a Letter Writing Flyer available upon request.

Please check the Operation Gratitude website and your emails for announcements about a new location, delivery of donations and Official Drop Off Sites.



Shop, Recycle and Donate at the Same Time

http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=sadjwxbab.0.0.9dmzolbab.0&ts=S0200&p=http://www.careclicks.com/group.php?groupID=663 Now you can do all your online shopping at more than 1000 of your favorite stores and websites through the Operation Gratitude Mall. Just click on the Care Clicks link in this Newsletter or on our website, or go to: www.opgratitude.com/shop, and start shopping. Many of the merchants offer significant discounts to Operation Gratitude supporters, and every merchant in the Mall donates back a percentage of your sale to Operation Gratitude! This is a terrific way to send gifts and purchase your own items from the convenience of your desk or laptop, while at the same time supporting our men and women in uniform. It is never too soon to start your Holiday Shopping!

Operation Gratitude Support

The cost of shipping each package averages $10- 15. Financial donations to Operation Gratitude, a 501(c) (3), all-volunteer, non-profit organization, are devoted to shipping and communication costs and are tax deductible. Donations can be made by check payable to Operation Gratitude (and sent to the address provided below) or by credit card through PayPal from the Operation Gratitude website or by clicking on the Donate Now link.

https://www.paypal.com/cgibin/webscr?first_name=Carolyn&last_name=Blashek&undefined_quantity=1&business=opgratitude2003@aol.com&image_url=&return=&cancel_return=&item_name=Operation Gratitude Support&amount=$&shipping=&currency_code=USD&item_number=&cmd=_xclick


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Thank you to every person throughout the country (and beyond) who wrote letters, collected items, donated funds, assembled packages and/or told a friend about Operation Gratitude! You all made our Patriotic Drive a huge success! We look forward to your continued support, especially for our upcoming 2006 Holiday Drive!


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