I’ve heard it hundreds, if not thousands, of times since I started as the CEO of Operation Gratitude three years ago — handwritten letters are the most cherished items in our Care Packages. As a Marine who deployed to more than 50 countries — from the first Gulf War in 1990 -1991 to my time in the Middle East during 2008 — I can tell you nothing boosts morale while you are deployed more than receiving handwritten letters.
Every week, in emails from our recipients, it is clear that it is not just a handwritten letter, it is an opportunity to make a meaningful connection with a deployed service member who is far from home like this young first lieutenant who was separated from his family for the very first time during the holidays.
“I am a husband and father of four. I have never missed a holiday with my family until this point… The letters I received today brought joy to an otherwise lonely heart.”
– 1LT W.B., Army Reserves, Afghanistan, Christmas 2018
For the past three years, I’ve seen firsthand that it is not just a handwritten letter, it is a way to honor veterans and wounded heroes who may feel that their service and the sacrifices they made were forgotten.
“It was extremely emotional for me when I saw the various handmade items and letters from the children thanking me for my service.”
– Veteran on Hudson Valley Honor Flight
Over the past 6 months, I have also learned it is not just a handwritten letter, it is a way to lift the spirits and strengthen the resolve of healthcare heroes and first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This week we surprised our clinics with the items you sent in thanks for their heroism in battling our invisible enemy. Your letters and the treats truly lifted their spirits and they were so touched. We’re all human, and there are definitely those amongst us who are facing fears and braving risk to be here for our patients and community.”
– C.L., Clinic Manager Franciscan Medical Clinic, Auburn
Writing a letter is a tangible way for every American to say “thank you” to those who serve, and it is another example of what makes Operation Gratitude unique and like no other nonprofit in the country.
This is why I am asking you to write some now! We are desperately short of having enough handwritten letters to include with every care package we send.
I challenge you to write 5-10 letters of appreciation every day for the next couple of weeks. They only take a few minutes each, and we are asking you to send 100 letters of appreciation to Operation Gratitude by November 1.
Every letter counts – if 100 is not feasible, please send us as many as you can!
Get your school involved. Get your community involved. Get your company involved. Get your family and friends involved!
We need 300,000 letters to include in our Care Packages for 20,000 Veterans on 11/11, 20,000 Deployed Troops for the Holiday Season, and 100,000 COVID-19 Frontline Responders before the end of the year.
We need all of you to take action with Operation Gratitude today – 300,000 handwritten letters by November 1st — Let’s make it happen, together!
To learn more about the impact of handwritten letters check out this short video clip from Fox & Friends coverage of our NYC Assembly Day last September.