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The Holiday Drive

posted on Oct 29 2007 0 Comments


October, 2007
Dear Friends,

A few days ago I prepared an appeal letter for the upcoming Holiday Drive.   It spoke of Operation Gratitude’s growth and success this past year, and the plan to send our 300,000th care package on December 15th.
I wrote about the generosity of our product donors and the fact that each package represents over $125 of value.
I reminded you that while we will spend the holidays comfortably at home with our loved ones, our troops will be sacrificing as they serve in desolate and dangerous places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
I’ll admit it.  I was trying to remind all of us that there is good reason to feel guilty.
Then I described how we must not let our young men and women in uniform think we have forgotten them.
Finally, I explained that Operation Gratitude’s major challenge right now is raising enough money to ship the Holiday Care Packages–each of which costs us $8.95 just for the postage; $10 overall.
It was a pretty good letter.   I hoped it would raise the $500,000 we need to send the 60,000 packages we will create during our Holiday Drive–right now, we only have enough money to send 10,000 packages.
And then I received this letter from a Soldier in Iraq……..
“HI Carolyn
Our unit will be leaving Iraq in a few weeks . I just wanted to thank you for your support of all soldiers over here. Your care packages helped lift morale here greatly and you should know helped save the life of a young soldier.
We had a soldier who never got mail, care packages, or anything. He did not have much family and as it turns out was planning on committing suicide on Christmas, but because that soldier received your care package it was like a Christmas gift. It made the soldier change his mind.
The soldier now writes letters and emails to folks whose names were in the box and the soldier’s attitude and outlook on life has really improved. This is not a story–it is true. We found out when the soldier finally opened up and talked to the Chain of Command about what was going thru his mind and got help for his depression.
Your care package made a major difference in a human life. Because of your organization, one less family received terrible news at Christmas time.
This has been my third deployment here and I remember how on my first deployment, I almost never got mail and then  received a care package from your group.  It made me feel much better about being separated from my loved ones. Is there anything I can do to help out? Your group has helped me so I think I should return the great favor. What can I do to help out? Send $$ donations? Just name it.
…and there was nothing more to say but this: Operation Gratitude volunteers put their hearts into every care package.   In this case, that love helped save a young man’s life.  Your financial generosity ensures that we can get these packages into the hands of many more of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.
As you prepare your holiday gift-giving lists, please save a place on your list for someone serving our country.  Every $10 donation to Operation Gratitude will send another care package.

Remember our brave men and women of the U.S. Military this Holiday season.  They are always thinking about you.


250,000th Box
Carolyn Blashek

p.s. To remember our troops through Operation Gratitude, please click here: Donate Now or send a check to this address:
Operation Gratitude ~~16444 Refugio Road~~Encino, CA 91436
If you would like to donate in someone’s honor or memory, please include the name and address of the person you would like notified and we will send a beautiful tribute letter.
p.p.s.  We now offer a way to become a “Sustaining Contributor”, supporting our program automatically on a monthly basis.  For more information and to set up your account, click here: Sustaining Contributor
p.p.p.s. We always welcome your letters too! Please write and mail to us as many as you’d like-we will include all of them in the care packages. Your words have a powerful and meaningful impact–please use them!

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