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Second Wave of Gratitude

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Ten days ago our nation celebrated Independence Day. In the spirit of this important holiday, Operation Gratitude redoubled our efforts to honor our volunteers and the brave men and women who sacrifice so much to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. 

We focused on actions and impact

In just 10 days we shipped and delivered more than 1 Million individual items and thousands of handwritten letters to 40,000 Frontline Responders in the cities of San Antonio, Houston, and fittingly Philadelphia, as well as 10,000 Deployed Troops serving overseas.

We also reached an incredible milestone as part of our COVID-19 relief efforts.  In just 13 weeks we have delivered more than 4 million individual items and 100,000 handwritten letters of appreciation and impacted 250,000 Frontline Responders across the country and Deployed Service Members around the world. 

While many other organizations have touted big numbers and talked about what should be done for Frontline Responders, we took action with you and impacted more than a quarter of a million heroes in just three months, and we are just getting started.

Because of volunteers like you, we are on pace to exceed our initial goal of supporting 300,000 frontline responders. And we have pledged to double what we have already achieved to positively impact more than 500,000 Deployed Troops, healthcare heroes, first responders, and National Guardsmen at the time of their greatest need and as COVID-19 spikes in some states.

As Frontline Responders continue to report higher rates of infection than the general population and hospital workers to describe emergency rooms as “battlefields,” they have also shared the tangible impact our jumbo care packages have made during challenging and stressful times. Their stories and images from coast to coast have demonstrated that “masks cannot hide smiles” and they truly appreciate our support. 

The COO of CHI Franciscan, one of the largest hospital networks in the Seattle-Tacoma area said it best:

“Your generous gifts came as an incredible surprise and true acknowledgment of the many long hours our healthcare heroes have given in support of our communities. This situation has been overwhelming and exhausting for all of us, and an unexpected, magnificent gesture from Operation Gratitude was received with great enthusiasm and appreciation.”

The men and women on the frontlines are working tirelessly to fight an invisible enemy in unthinkable conditions while now confronting a second wave of this pandemic. They are exhausted and their spirits are at an all-time low, yet they continue to serve our communities and all of us with courage. And we need your help to send a second wave of gratitude to lift their spirits and steel their resolve. 

I want you to know one thing — we will continue to support them. No matter what the demand is, Operation Gratitude will meet it, because we have YOUR help and the support of so many grateful Americans like you. I said it before and I want you to hear me again — they can’t stop, so we won’t stop.

I say this with the utmost confidence because I have seen you step up time and again since I started as the CEO of Operation Gratitude. Most recently when a  special group of volunteers heard our call to action and joined the RED Scarf Challenge. We challenged our supporters to knit or crochet as many RED scarves and hats as they could in order to Remember Everyone Deployed. In just three weeks, more than 680 knitters and crocheters rose to the challenge making more than 8,400 red scarves and hats. That astounding number is far more than any of us imagined and it makes me feel prouder than ever to be a part of this remarkable movement. 

These will be included in our special “Christmas in July” Care Packages being sent to 5,000 Deployed Troops later this month, and I know that it will keep them warm in body and spirit.

Congratulations to ALL who participated in the RED Scarf Challenge, with special acknowledgments to the following individuals:

  1. Pat Tripodo – 176 Scarves
  2. Audrey Prest – 94 Scarves & 76 Hats
  3. Teri Adams140 Scarves

As well as the following dedicated groups: 

  1. Taycheedah Correctional Institution140 Scarves
  2. Talented Hands 65 Scarves – 34 Hats
  3. Vitalia Knit One Crochet Two53 Scarves & 39 Hats

To all of the knitters and crocheters who helped us achieve these amazing results, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know the recipients will appreciate it just as much as I do — and I promise to share pictures of their smiling faces as soon as we receive them.  

If you are looking for ways to get involved and support our Christmas in July efforts for Deployed Troops visit https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks-virtual/.

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