Celebs and 1000 Volunteers Assemble 400,000th Package
posted on Dec 16 2008 0 Comments
Santa, Celebrities and Volunteers Join Forces
To Assemble Milestone 400,000th Package
Van Nuys, CA – December 16, 2008-
During a fast-paced and energetic weekend, 1000+ Operation Gratitude volunteers were joined on the Assembly Line by celebrities Kathy Ireland, Ben Affleck and Days of Our Lives stars: Deidre Hall, Jay Kenneth Johnson and Leanne Hunley as they celebrated the assembly and shipment of Operation Gratitude’s 400,000th Care Package.
Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith, Sportscasters Ross Porter and Bonnie Jill Laflin, Mayoral candidate Walter Moore, two Junior ROTC units, dozens of Girl and Boy Scout Troops, church, temple, youth, school and Rotary groups, and high school cheerleaders stuffed, taped, labeled and transported thousands of Care Packages until a cry went out from Director of Operations Charlie Othold that the 400,000th package had hit the Assembly Line on Saturday morning at 11:15am.
The vast group gathered as Councilman Smith presented the organization with a check in excess of $11,600, and Kathy Ireland thanked the volunteers for their extraordinary devotion and hard work.
Founder Carolyn Blashek reported that this milestone package represents 20 million individual items, more than 2.8 million pounds and $40 million worth of product that Operation Gratitude has sent to troops deployed overseas since 2003.
Suddenly, in a crowd-pleasing moment, Santa Claus arrived bearing not one surprise item, but a whole sack of special gifts donated by several Operation Gratitude Corporate Sponsorsand Supporters.
Flanked by Corporate donors and elves, Santa revealed the 20 special gifts (see full list below), including tickets to major sporting events, an all-inclusive vacation at a Caribbean resort with round-trip airline tickets, and an autographed, hand-painted “Golden Fiddle” donated by Country Music icon Charlie Daniels.
The completed package was handed over to Van Nuys Regional Postmaster General, Joel Smith, who helped arrange a special handling process to deliver the care package for a secret presentation to take place on or around Christmas day.
On Sunday, Blashek presented Oscar winner Ben Affleck with an American flag flown over Multi-National Corps-Iraq Headquarters in honor of his support of Operation Gratitude. Affleck, visibly moved, expressed the importance of saying “Thank You” to our troops, especially during the Holidays, when they are far away from home and loved ones. Noting that the organization needed to raise an additional $200,000 by year-end to send the remaining 20,000 care packages, Affleck urged all Americans to donate to Operation Gratitude as the best way to show appreciation to the troops.
Each care package costs $10 to ship; tax-deductible financial donations to Operation Gratitude are welcome online or by check mailed to: Operation Gratitude; 16444 Refugio Road; Encino, CA 91436
THE OPERATION GRATITUDE 400,000th CARE PACKAGE CONTENTS
1. Caramoo: All Natural Caramel Candies: a case (12 boxes) of product every month for a year
3. Sees Candy: A delicious confection every month for a year
4. Target: a $500 Gift Card
5. Gallery Collection: $500 Gift Certificate for Greeting Cards
6. Courtesy of Gallery Collection, a personalized Holiday card and signed photograph from:
Al Unser Jr.
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
Jeff Gordon signed No. 24 Camo shirt and hero card
7. Schering Plough: 12 Schering Plough products (the “Dynamic Dozen”)-Recipient’s choice.
8. Alacer Corp/Emergen-C: A Year’s Supply of their new Health and Energy Water
9. Newhall Coffee: A year’s supply of coffee
10. 5 Hour Energy Drinks: A year’s supply of 5 Hour Energy
11. Rogers Family Company: an iPod
12. Rogers Family Company: The Winning Letter plus 10 additional great letters from the online “Letters to Our Troops Contest”
13. Maxell: Premium Digital Gift Basket of Maxell products, including headphones, ear bud sets, an assortment of MP3 and iPod accessories
PLUS: (4) tickets to any 2009 Major League regular season sporting event
14. WPIX TV/Tribune: 6 Suite tickets to a N.Y. Mets Game
15. Philadelphia Sports Congress: 2009 ARMY-NAVY GAME PACKAGE, including 2 tickets to the Game; 2 tickets to the Tailgate Party, 2 Tickets to the Army-Navy Gala and 2 nights in a hotel.
PLUS: Gallery Collection will provide round-trip transportation from the recipient’s home to Philadelphia.
16. Dr. Pepper graciously donated another 2 tickets to the Game, to their parties, and 2 nights in a hotel, plus transportation so the recipient can bring along children or buddies!
17. Charlie Daniels, Country and Southern Rock Music Star, Grammy Award winning, Grand Ole Opry Inductee, donated an autographed hand-painted Golden Fiddle-made famous in Charlie’s greatest hit song: “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” CD included in box.
18. American Airlines: 2 Round Trip Coach Tickets on to any AA destination in the US 48, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico or Canada.
19. Willett Travel, Pleasant Holidays and Distinguished Resorts: 5 Days at the All-Inclusive Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic. Includes room, meals, beverages and activities.
20. Operation Gratitude: Asorted goodies: Shirts, Sweatshirts, bottle, Frisbee.