Van Nuys, CA - February 3, 2015

During the months of November and December, 10,184 generous dentists, companies, families and individuals from across the country collected Halloween candy and other Operation Gratitude Care Package items to send to the United States Military for the holidays.

In total, they collected and shipped more than 401,052 pounds of candy to Operation Gratitude. That poundage represents more than 12 Million individual pieces of candy lovingly donated to our military men and women.

"In addition to this enormous amount of candy, millions of other items, including snack food, toiletries, entertainment products, and hand-made scarves and paracord bracelets, were collected throughout the year for our troops," said Angel Cuevas, Operation Gratitude's Director of Operations and a Marine Veteran. "Just in this past year, we worked with 48,592 individual and corporate donors who made it possible for us to fulfill our mission of support to the military."

In 2014, Operation Gratitude's volunteers assembled and shipped 117,279 care packages to Troops deployed in harm's way, and to Veterans, New Recruits, Military Families, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers.

Since its founding in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped a total of 1,188,661 care packages to the Military community.

Links
Operation Gratitude Website- www.operationgratitude.com
Pictures - https://www.facebook.com/OperationGratitude/photos_stream

About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude annually sends more than 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Its mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our active duty and veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our military. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-$100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped almost 1.2 Million Care Packages.

On two Assembly Days in the last twelve days, 1,574 Volunteers assembled 12,670 Care Packages to send to our Deployed Troops and New Recruits. CLICK HERE to view how our dedicated Volunteers accomplished this mission during 'The 12 Days of Operation Gratitude.'

Thank you for your generous support throughout the years.

Los Angeles, CA - December 17, 2014 - Operation Gratitude is excited to announce the launch of its "New Recruit" Care Package program to thank our newest members of the Military for stepping forward and devoting the next several years of their lives in service to our nation. Upon Graduation from "Boot Camp," each New Recruit is handed a unique package of goodies from Operation Gratitude in a new custom-designed box.

The New Recruit Care Package Program is already in full swing at both Marine Corps Recruiting Depots in San Diego and Parris Island, and at the Navy's Great Lakes Recruit Training Command in Illinois.  The organization expects to bring the Army and Air Force training centers on board in 2015.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive:

"We are excited and honored to start this program at Recruit Training Command. Operation Gratitude lets the nation's newest Sailors know that someone is always thinking about them. These care packages show the Sailors that they are part of the Navy family and the country is proud of them for their decision to serve." -Capt. Doug Pfeifle (pictured here), commanding officer of Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Great Lakes, IL.

"Greetings! I am a Private who just recently graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. On the last week of boot camp, each of us received one of your packages, and I wanted to let you know that they were very much appreciated. Receiving those packages helped make us feel human again, and that reminder of our nation's support boosted our morale.  Thank you very much for your generosity. Semper Fidelis." -Pvt K.J.

"I am a new Marine Mom. My son graduated MCRD as a Private on Nov 7. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Care Package you sent him. We were not allowed to send things to him so him receiving this care package, I know made his day. I had tears in my eyes reading your mission statement. Thank you, Thank you! He wore the knitted beanie all the way home." -M.B.H., Texas

In addition to an assortment of snacks, hygiene, entertainment and hand-made items, each Care Package includes a "Loved One Medallion," a specially designed Operation Gratitude keepsake for the New Recruit to share with a special family member or friend. The Medallion thanks loved ones for their support and lets them know that the American people stand "hand in hand" with them.

"We hope the recruits get two things from receiving these packages," said Angel Cuevas, Director of Operations for Operation Gratitude. "First, we hope it lifts their morale. Second, we want them to know someone, somewhere cares. This is the generosity of the American public. We are supporting their mission wherever it takes them, and we don't want them to be alone."

The distribution of all New Recruit Care Packages is handled directly with the Military training centers.

Just as with all of our care package programs, every American can support the New Recruit Packages by organizing collection drives, writing letters, hand-crafting scarves, hats and bracelets, or contributing financially.

Links
Operation Gratitude Website- www.operationgratitude.com
Navy Press Release - http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=84758

You can sponsor a shipment
of Care Packages to our Troops.
Make your gift today, and we will include a
beautiful card with your name
inside each of the packages.
Please join our effort to send more
than 100,000 care packages this year.

We have three immediate ways to share your support

All of us at Operation Gratitude are gearing up for the busiest season of the year! Between now and the end of 2014, we will ship more than 40,000 packages to our Deployed Troops, New Recruits, Military Families and Veterans.

Here are three ways for you to get involved--from anywhere in the country:

ONE:  Participate in our #SayThanks Campaign and Send a Picture Directly to our Troops Would you like to send a picture and a message of thanks to our nation's Service Members, Veterans and Military Families?

Now is your chance to capture your gratitude in a photo. Your visual message of heartfelt thanks will remind our heroes and their families that they are always remembered and appreciated.

Click here today to submit your picture and we will share it online and send it in a Care Package on November 8th.

TWO:  Send your Deployed Loved One a Care Package Filled with Goodies and Appreciation

Each month, hundreds of volunteers take part in our Assembly Days where they produce thousands of packages for our Military.

Do you have a loved one, friend or colleague serving overseas?

Click here to send them an Operation Gratitude Care Package filled with nearly 50 assorted snacks, entertainment and hand-made items, personal care products, and letters of love and respect.

THREE:  Make a Donation to Send Packages to our Troops

We get pictures and notes from the Troops that receive our packages every day:

"A care package like that can change our outlook on the entire day."

"Getting something in the mail really lifts spirits."

"It really helps to know that we are loved..."

You can help us keep our mission alive by making a donation of $15 to send a care package overseas, $30 to send two or $180 to send one every month for the next year.

Our Troops need to know that we remember them and appreciate them for the sacrifices they make each day.

Now is the Time

The holidays are especially hard on our Service Members because they are so far away from home and loved ones. Now is the time to show we care.

Thank you for your enthusiastic support!

Van Nuys, CA -- Operation Gratitude, the non-profit, volunteer-based Military and Veteran support organization, will have dual cause for celebration when the Milestone 900,000th Care Package rolls off the assembly line, and the special gift from the 800,000th Care Package (sent in June, 2012) is delivered to a returning Soldier on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at the National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, CA.

Hundreds of volunteers will be joined by members of the Military, politicians, notable personalities, Motorcycle enthusiasts and representatives from several of the organization's Corporate Friends and Sponsors, to assemble care packages and to honor 800,000th Care Package recipient Spc. Samuel Mancilla, recently returned from Afghanistan, as he receives his custom-built Orange County Choppers' motorcycle donated in partnership with SJO Foundation for Hope and Torque Sports & Performance.

Operation Gratitude Director of Operations, Rich Hernandez, expects the "milestone moment" to happen shortly after 11 am.

The Doubleheader Celebration wraps up the organization's Deployed Troop Care Package assembly for the year, having made and shipped more than 100,000 Troop, Veteran, Family and Battalion Buddy Care Packages in just six months, since June 2012. Operation Gratitude volunteers will continue to assemble Veteran, Battalion Buddy and their new "Care Giver" packages on weekdays through the end of the year (see Volunteer Schedule for hours).

WHEN:
December 15, 2012
Care Package Assembly 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Milestone Assembly & Celebration: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:
California National Guard Armory
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Corner of Victory and Louise; parking available in adjacent lot


Pink's Hotdogs
will be selling lunch on site for all volunteers and guests.

Financial donations are still needed to help pay the assembly and postage expenses of $15 per package.
Every tax deductible donation of $15 sends another care package, personally addressed to American heroes in harm's way, their children anxiously waiting at home, and to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers.

Online donations can be made here: Donate .

Donations by check can be made payable and mailed to:
Operation Gratitude
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436

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About Operation Gratitude: Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, to their children left behind, to Veterans, to Military families in financial distress due to unemployment, to Emergency First Responders and to Wounded Warriors recuperating in transition units. The organization's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at ~$75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 890,000 packages to American Military members and their children.

My best wishes to all our friends in the United States Marine Corps for a very happy USMC birthday!  Tomorrow we will join you in celebrating 237 years of brave and honorable service to our country. Thank you to all who, past and present, bear the name "U.S. Marine."

Sunday is Veterans Day, another special occasion when we have the opportunity to thank, honor and salute all U.S. Military Veterans. We owe you a debt that can and will never be fully repaid. We are grateful to you, and to your families, for the faithful service rendered to our Nation in times of peace and war.

In tribute to both the Marine Corps birthday and Veterans Day, we haveJohn Adams published a new blog post written by our own John Adams, a Marine and combat Veteran who recently left active duty and joined our Operation Gratitude team.

Please read John's moving words here: A Veteran's Salute

Thank you for your generosity in support of deployed Troops, Veterans, Military Families, Wounded Warriors and First Responders. We couldn't do what we do without you!

All best,

Carolyn Blashek, Founder
Operation Gratitude

Time to Stand Up and Step Forward...

Our Military Heroes who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have had so much to contend with as they return home: Physical Injuries, PTSD, High rates of Unemployment, Homelessness.

And now, a Natural Disaster, the likes of which has never been seen on the East Coast of our great nation.

Hurricane Sandy Destruction
Late yesterday, Operation Gratitude learned about an East Coast Military Unit with more than 150 families who have been displaced and/or rendered homeless by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
An additional 750 families have no power, potable water, or the basic comforts of clean clothes and entertainment for their children.

More than 900 of our nation's finest were struck by a Natural Disaster.

Operation Gratitude volunteers immediately sprang into action: Today we are sending 5 Pallets of Care Packages, Battalion Buddies, and general Supplies (food, hygiene items, clothing, blankets, handmade scarves and Gift Cards) to these brave Military Families.

We are expediting the shipment cross-country to ensure the families receive these supplies by no later than Tuesday.

We want to do even more but we can't do it without your help!

Hurricane Sandy victimOur Military always stands up and steps forward for us. Today, you can do the same for them. Your donation will help us help them NOW.

Please Donate Today so that Operation Gratitude can make a difference to to the Military men, women and children whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Sandy's devastation.

To support our heroes today, click here: DONATE NOW
Or mail a check payable and addressed to:

Operation Gratitude

16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436

Any amount will be greatly appreciated. THANK YOU for your generous support!

May 26, 2011 -- Operation Gratitude, the 501(c)(3) Military support charity, and co-sponsor True Religion Brand Jeans® have launched a "Pictures for Patriots" contest designed to encourage students in kindergarten through 12th grade to use their artistic talents to express patriotic support and gratitude for deployed U.S. troops.

 

"The troops love getting kids' artwork in their Operation Gratitude care packages," explained Carolyn Blashek, founder of the organization. "Some decorate their living or work space with it, others save it in a special plP4P Contestace to bring home someday, and a few even carry the drawings with them on all their missions, tucked into their pockets or helmets for good luck and comfort."

Hoping to receive more of such treasures and at the same time discover the perfect drawing for the cover of their annual Operation Gratitude Magazine, published exclusively for deployed troops, Operation Gratitude, in cooperation with True Religion Brand Jeans®, designed a social media-based contest to engage the public's help.

 

Students in K-12 are invited to submit digital images of their drawings from May 25 through June 15 via email to: OpGratMedia@gmail.com. The original  drawings must also be mailed, along with an Entry/Parent Permission Form, to: Pictures for Patriots 2011/Operation Gratitude; 16444 Refugio Road; Encino, California 91436

Operation Gratitude and True Religion Brand Jeans® will choose 10 Finalist drawings P4P Contest2from among all entries submitted. Commencing on June 20, the 10 Finalist drawings will be posted in a "Pictures for Patriots" photo album on Operation Gratitude's Facebook page. Facebook users may then "like" their favorite entry, thereby voting for the drawing they believe is best. One "like" equals one vote. The three drawings with the most votes by the contest's July 3 closing date will be announced as the Grand Prize Winners on July 4 and each Winner will earn a $500 donation to the student's school and an iPod for themselves. The entry with the greatest number of votes will be placed on the cover of the upcoming Operation Gratitude Magazine.

 

Each of the 10 Finalists will receive a pair of True Religion Brand Jeans®, an Operation Gratitude DogTag, and will be featured on the inside pages of the Operation Gratitude Magazine. In addition, each of the 10 Finalists will be assisted in the filing of an application to obtain a U.S. copyright registration for their drawing submission. True Religion Brand Jeans® will select one or more of the drawing submissions to be printed on T-Shirts that will be sold from their retail stores.  A portion of the proceeds from those sales will be contributed to Operation Gratitude.

Complete official "Pictures for Patriots" Rules may be found here. Download and print an Entry Form here.

For those students who otherwise wouldn't be able to volunteer in the armory because they're under age 12 or live too far away, Blashek urged: "This is an ideal opportunity to show their appreciation and support for the troops in a creative and special way!  We hope parents, teachers, scout and youth group leaders will encourage their children to participate in this very patriotic and meaningful activity."

 

"True Religion Brand Jeans® is humbled and honored to participate in this program with Operation Gratitude," said Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Lubell. "This is a beautiful and meaningful display of support and appreciation for our deployed service men and women."

May 24, 2011 -- Operation Gratitude today announced that on Sunday, June 5 a Marine infantryman recently returned from Afghanistan will be given the Victory Vegas 8-Ball Motorcycle promised in the organization's milestone 600,000th Care Package assembled in December, 2010.

 

The milestone package was delivered on Christmas day by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Amos, to a Lance Corporal with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, who at the time was serving a seven-month deployment in the deadly Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province.  The name of the Marine who received the 600,000th care package will be revealed at the event on June 5.

Marine1

L-R: Sgt.Maj. Kent, Lt.Col. Morris, LCpl., Gen. Amos in Sangin, AFG; 12/25/10

 

The 3/5, also known as "Dark Horse Battalion," experienced heavy combat throughout the deployment, with 25 of its men killed and more than 150 wounded. The 600,000th package recipient, along with his 3/5 comrades, returned to Camp Pendleton in April. The Marine, who received the package containing symbolic keys attached to a letter describing the bike, was recently promoted to Corporal and will join the Operation Gratitude volunteers and guests at the armory to receive the motorcycle generously donated by Victory Motorcycles.

 

Victory Motorcycles' External Relations Manager, Robert Pandya, will make the presentation. Pandya believes the motorcycle is a symbol of thanks to the men and women who serve in all branches of the Military.

 

"Victory Motorcycles is proud to be part of the 600,000th Operation Gratitude package," said Pandya, adding, "While our motorcycle represents the chance to explore the freedoms of the open road,

it is the hard work and sacrifices of our troops around the world and at home that give everyone in America that opportunity."

 

Among the guests at the California Army National Guard armory on June 5, the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's passing, will be Michael Reagan, members of his family and representatives of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. They will join hundreds of volunteers at the armory to assemble care packages for the 5,000 crew members deployed aboard aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, named in honor of the 40th President of the United States. Care packages will also be assembled and shipped to the crew of guided-missile destroyer USS Preble and guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville, both currently serving in the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.

 

The media and members of the public (aged 12 years and older) are invited to attend the day's activities.


WHAT:
Marine Corporal receives Victory Vegas 8-Ball Motorcycle and Operation Gratitude Volunteers assemble Care Packages for the Crew of USS Ronald Reagan, USS Preble and the USS Chancellorsville

WHEN: Sunday June 5, 2011
Care Package Assembly starts at 9 a.m.
Program and Motorcycle Presentation will occur: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

 

WHERE: California National Guard Armory
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Corner of Victory and Louise; parking available on adjacent lot

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