Military Appreciation Month – What Can We Do?

To honor Military Appreciation Month, Operation Gratitude did what we do best — we took action to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of military families around the country, including these military spouses and children from Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, FL.

Military family members show the contents of their Operation Gratitude care package.
Military family members show the contents of their Operation Gratitude care package.

We have a simple, tangible way for YOU to help us say thank you, as well, to thousands more families like these during May, when Americans everywhere take pause to express appreciation to service members and their families.  

For each Starbucks Military eGift Card activated during the month of May, Starbucks will donate $5, to be divided equally between the two organizations to support the mental health of our military community. military families who sacrifice so much in service to our nation. 

To maximize YOUR impact, simply select the $5 Military eGift Card on your Starbucks app and buy as many of them as you would like. Consider loading up with enough to buy a Starbucks treat and celebrate a military family in your life!​​​​​

Send a Starbucks Military eGift Card

One of my best friends, who also happens to be a big Starbucks fan, pre-purchased enough coffee for the year! I thought this was such a good idea, I did the same thing for my wife, Laura. The best part is, I got the opportunity to tell her how much I love and appreciate her 100 times over! Another close friend who is a military spouse herself bought one for all 40 employees on her team, which is made up almost entirely of military spouses.

With every eGift Card you purchase, you will bolster Operation Gratitude’s efforts to lift the spirits of deployed service members and military families at home who are missing them desperately.

Starbucks Military eGift Cards

To demonstrate the impact of YOUR actions, I thought I would share some comments from the military spouses and mothers in Jacksonville who were the recipients of your kindness and generosity last week:

  • One mom who cried tears of joy couldn’t thank Operation Gratitude and our volunteers enough. She said, “Things like this help a lot… more than you will ever know.” She had just sold her house, was preparing to move again, and her youngest child was having a very difficult time. After the event, she texted our team to let us know that her younger son named his bear “Commander Dan” so he could feel closer to his daddy while he was gone.
  • Several moms from a unit that deployed in January 2020, got extended because of COVID until September 2020, and deployed again in December 2020 with an undefined return date said, “It’s been hard, but what can you do?” These strong and resilient military spouses (and mothers) managed births, deaths of loved ones, selling and buying of houses, school issues, and COVID. ​​​​
  • One senior military spouse said, “The mental stress on the sailors and families was enormous during COVID. It was hard for the wives to communicate how the world was changing in the U.S. (and difficult to communicate in general because they were on the ship). They also didn’t want to worry their sailors with their stress, and the sailors themselves didn’t see land for more than 200 days. 
  • One military mom emphasized that, despite looking forward to her child returning to in-person school at the beginning of 2021 as it would make her life easier, she chose to keep him in a virtual learning environment because it was the ONE thing that she could keep consistent for him during a tumultuous year.
Bridge over water.
Military family members show the contents of their Operation Gratitude care package.

In reading those comments, I know you join me in asking “what can we do?” to make their year a little brighter. While buying a treat with a Starbucks Military eGift Card for someone you love (or for a military family that you know personally) won’t bring deployed service members home, it will demonstrate that you care and appreciate them. It’s a tangible expression of empathy and gratitude.  

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking about the military families from Jacksonville whose stories we shared, as well as other military spouses and children around the world who are dealing with exactly the same struggles.

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Channeling the Holiday Spirit this Summer

Amidst the heat of the summer, an image of logs crackling in the fireplace and casting a glow on stockings hung above is probably the last thing to come to mind for most people. But for Operation Gratitude and our growing army of volunteers nationwide, the holiday spirit is always in our thoughts.

More Than Just a Hug

When I look back at my journey over the past 3 years and 8 months as the CEO of Operation Gratitude, the one thing that sticks out the most are the hugs.

They are etched in my memory forever — literally thousands of hugs at hundreds of service projects and community-building events — on too many trips, and in too many cities to count, from sea to shining sea.