Penny’s Purpose

On a Saturday morning at the end of a very long COVID year, I had a conversation with one of our volunteers that I will never forget.

When I called Penny Stewart to say thank you for the beautiful Marine Amigurumi figures she had crocheted for me and our COO, Paul Cucinotta, I didn’t anticipate her saying something that will stick with me forever.

Every Day is a Day On: Moved to Action

Prior to the pandemic, Regina was volunteering at Operation Gratitude’s warehouse, the FOB. She would also consistently volunteer at our monthly care package assembly days. Regina worked in the knits section, rolling handmade with love items and assembling them into care packages.

Regina Bevacqua began volunteering with Operation Gratitude in 2020. A friend’s neighbor told Regina about assembly days at the old armory location. It sounded fun, so Regina began to attend assembly days herself. She even brought her nephews who are active-duty service members.

Jared’s Journey – From Airman to Ambassador

This weekly briefing is about a young Airman named Jared Clemens who embraced Operation Gratitude’s mission and brought together the community of San Antonio through a common bond of service and simple acts of gratitude. When I met Jared outside Fire Station #1 in “Military City USA” on November 28, 2018, I saw and understood the true potential of our volunteer Ambassador program for the very first time.

What Jared did that day was truly remarkable. He single-handedly organized the delivery of 3,000 of our signature red care pouches to every police officer, firefighter, and EMT in the San Antonio Police and Fire Departments.

Every Day is a Day On: Hooked on Volunteerism

Donna Snell, a semi-retired event planner, became involved with Operation Gratitude a few years ago when a friend told her about one of their campaigns. In 2017, during the devastating Texas floods, Operation Gratitude was sending truckloads of supplies to families who had lost their homes. Donna’s friend was collecting clothes to assist with that effort, and Donna joined in to support the cause. This led to Donna attending an assembly day where she described herself as “hooked.”

After that, she began slowly volunteering around her work schedule. Now Donna volunteers almost every day and has worked with every program Operation Gratitude has launched.

Alex’s Army

Hear the words and look at the faces of civilians, first responders, and military families standing side by side in service to their community and one another. From every walk of life, they came together — they laughed, they sang, and they had conversations that led to meaningful connections, understanding, and empathy. 

They realized that, despite their differences, they shared the same neighbors, their kids went to the same schools, and they shared the same commitment to make their community stronger. They recognized a common belief and passion for service and the goodness of humankind through simple acts of gratitude and kindness.

Every Day is a Day On: Bridging the Divide through Philanthropy

The Every Day is a Day On series spotlights volunteers at Operation Gratitude who go above and beyond to support servicemen and women, their families, and first responders.

The third feature in this series features Holly Street of Atlanta, Georgia. Holly has been volunteering with Operation Gratitude through the National Charity League (NCL) for eight years. The Buckhead Chapter of NCL’s main focus of volunteerism has been making paracord bracelets, writing letters, and collecting care package donations.

This is Holly’s story…

Chance’s Choice

When we started the new year, I hoped that the need to support our Deployed Troops and Frontline Responders would wane. As we returned from the holidays, I hoped and prayed that our fight against COVID would end and service members who faced extended deployments would come home.

Yet four weeks into 2021, and the need for Operation Gratitude has grown — not waned. In the weeks leading to the 2021 Inauguration, we supported 6,800 police officers in Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department and NYPD and 25,000 National Guardsmen deployed to our nation’s capital because they needed us.

The fact is, on average, we have impacted more than one service member every minute of the day, thus far, in 2021.

Every Day is a Day On: Community Volunteers Show Gratitude Together

The Every Day is a Day On series spotlights volunteers at Operation Gratitude who go above and beyond to support servicemen and women, their families, and first responders.

Our second spotlight features Jeanne Bauer, a former middle school teacher who has been involved in community outreach in the San Carlos United Methodist Church in San Diego for more than ten years. The main focus of her congregation’s involvement with Operation Gratitude involves knitting hats and scarves and writing Christmas cards, which are all sent during the holiday season in care packages to those currently serving in the military.