Time for some THANKS and a few friendly reminders…

These past several weeks have been like a whirlwind of busy-ness! Our 2011 Patriotic Drive began, we’ve celebrated Military Appreciation Month, launched our Battalion Buddy Program, started several promotions to help raise funds and donations to support our cause, and last — but certainly not least — we took time over Memorial Day weekend to honor, pay tribute and remember those who have given their lives in service to our country.

We have much to be thankful for — first and foremost, we want to thank troops and veterans for all they have done and are doing on our behalf. Next, thank you to the military families who support our warriors with grace and dignity, and to our fellow military support organizations that serve our country in unique and important ways from the homefront. Finally, we owe a debt of gratitude to our amazing volunteers, donors and corporate sponsors — we could not do what we do without your generosity and hard work!

Speaking of hard work — it never ends for our service members and while they are deployed it will not end for us, either.  Please take a moment to review the opportunities before us to keep the momentum of troop support going into the summer — everyone can pitch in, every little bit counts, and every penny raised will go towards helping send another care package to the troops!

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Pictures for Patriots Contest: Now through June 15, Operation Gratitude and our co-sponsor, True Religion Brand Jeans®, are asking students in grades K-12 to draw or paint a picture that expresses their gratitude to our Military. All appropriate entries will eventually be shipped in our care packages to the troops!

This is a contest with great prizes for the students and their schools — please read about all the details at an earlier blog post, here.

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Pemmican Beef Jerky: Now through Independence Day, Marfood USA will support deployed U.S. troops with a donation of $100,000+ worth of Pemmican Beef Jerky for Operation Gratitude care packages! Look for specially marked Pemmican – Operation Gratitude displays in stores! For every bag of Pemmican 3.25oz Beef Jerky you buy during this time period, Pemmican will donate a bag of Beef Jerky to Operation Gratitude!

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Your “like” can help double a donation! In late April, R.W. Knudsen donated 100,000 sticks of Recharge® Natural Sports Drink – the latest addition to their popular natural sports beverage line — to Operation Gratitude for our Patriotic Drive care packages.Now, in honor of Military Appreciation Month, if Recharge® meets its goal of 15,000 new “likes” on its Facebook page, they’ll donate 100,000 MORE sticks for the troops!

Recharge® drink mix delivers essential electrolytes and optimal vitamins without added sugar, preservatives, or artificial colors and will help keep our troops hydrated during the blistering hot summer months in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and on U.S. Navy ships at sea! Please help us meet this goal! Click here to visit the Recharge® Facebook page and click on “Like” — it’s as simple as that!

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Here’s to the Winners: Looking for a great Father’s Day gift? This long-awaited book is a wonderful, hand-picked collection of many of L.A. Daily News columnist Dennis McCarthy’s favorite columns from the past 25 years. Complete with full-color photos, it’s a special tribute to the thousands of local readers whose lives have been touched by his thoughtful, heart-felt and inspiring essays. McCarthy has been sharing stories about San Fernando Valley residents and their extraordinary accomplishments for the past three decades. Dennis is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Here’s to the Winners to Operation Gratitude:

1. Visit www.dailynews.com/dennis
2. Click on “Buy Now”
3. This will open the eCommerce store, where you’ll see “Here’s to the Winners” for sale.
4. Click on “Add to Shopping Cart” and this page will appear. Users can enter
“Gratitude” in the “Apply Coupon” box and click on “Go.”

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Read Give Gift cards: The perfect gift for someone who has a passion for reading and a love for giving back to the troops! Go to: http://readgive.com/charity/OPGR/  and purchase magazine subscriptions and/or $15 Gift Cards as a gift for yourself or someone you love and to benefit our heroes in harm’s way. Be sure to add the code OPGR to the “special instructions” section on the second screen of the payment process.

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These are just a few of the ways you can be involved in our efforts! Please visit our website for more ideas about How You Can Help! Thank you!

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000+ care packages to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, their Care Givers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. Each package contains donated product valued between $45 and $100 and costs our organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.6 Million Care Packages.
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