Take time to say, “Thank you for serving!”

Who doesn’t love getting MAIL? 1428880C

Without a doubt, the most popular items in the care packages we send are the letters of thanks written by grateful Americans of all ages. Some messages are a single sentence long, some go on for a full page or more and others are little more than a sweet drawing and a heartfelt “Thank you.”

But each letter is cherished and greatly appreciated by the recipient!

There is no such thing as a “typical” letter — that’s what makes each one so very special.

June 14 - 15 006

Kids send cheerful drawings like this one, left, and the troops decorate their living and work spaces with precious reminders that they are not forgotten by all of us back home.

“Receiving support from home is always welcomed here and my favorite part of care packages are the letters and drawings from the kids. Those make my day! Thanks again! AM2 A.R.H.”

The troops love to write back when time allows:

“I’m always excited to receive a package! I’ve gotten great pleasure in reading the personal hand written letters and drawings from kids and adults alike, and I’ve got a few with addresses that I will be replying to today. SrA D.S.”

image (21)

We have an on-going need for cards, letters and drawings for the thousands of care packages we send each year…not only to deployed troops, but to Veterans, New Recruits and Wounded Heroes as well.

Want to write some letters? Thank you! As you write, please keep in mind the following important guidelines:

–Since the cards/letters will be shipped in our care packages, please sort and bundle them by type (Troops/ Veterans/ Wounded Heroes/ New Recruits) and send them together to us in a single package.

–”Thank you” letters not related to a specific time of year/holiday are most appreciated and needed.

We ask that you do NOT use individual envelopes for any cards or letters. Why? Because every letter or card that comes to us must be screened prior to being placed in our care packages. It takes an undue amount of volunteer time to remove the letters from the envelopes, and then we do not include the envelopes in the packages anyway. This means that your envelopes might end up being discarded (and we hate to be wasteful!). If you have excess envelopes that you would like to donate, please send those to us separately.

–Please NO glitter.

–Please NO foam stickers, which are often too bulky for our care packages and prevent us from including other needed items. Plain stickers are great and we encourage their use.

photo (24)–Sample salutations include: Dear Service Member, Dear Patriot, Dear Veteran, Dear Hero, Dear Brave One. (Please do not use “Dear Marine,” “Dear Soldier” or “Dear Sailor” because your letter may end up going to a Service Member from a different branch of the military.)

–Avoid politics entirely and religion in excess; it is acceptable to write “God bless you” and/or “I’m praying for you.” Keep the message upbeat and positive.

–Talk about yourself; ask questions (not about death/dying); express thanks.

–Please include your own contact information (mail or email) so recipients can choose to reply. Please also download, fill out and send a Donor Form with each batch of cards/letters you mail to us.

–STUDENTS: Use FIRST names only; TEACHERS/CLUB LEADERS: Use your name and email address only on students’ letters.

–Adults may include full name, address and email.


–Handwritten or hand-signed letters or cards are most appreciated. Drawings are great too!

–All letters will be screened by Operation Gratitude. If you are sending us multiple cards/letters, please do not use individual envelopes.

–Please allow us enough time to screen holiday letters – the earlier we receive them, the better. Please note: It is difficult to give an exact deadline – for Thanksgiving, we should receive letters/cards by early October; for Christmas and Hannukah, by early November.

–Write as many letters as you can – they will be distributed throughout different Military BU3locations. You can even send multiple copies of the same letter. You can either hand write the same letter over and over, or use your printer to make copies. However, please hand sign each copy in non-black ink to make them feel more personal. 

–If you do not receive a reply, please be understanding.

We have helpful flyers that you are welcome to download and distribute:

Letter Writing Flyer
Letter Writing Flyer for Teachers 

Letters may be sent together in one large mailing envelope or box to:

Operation Gratitude
21100 Lassen Street
Chatsworth, CA 91311
ATTN: Letter Writing Program/Angel CuevasThank you for serving!

Los Angeles-area Volunteers: Every single letter and card needs to be properly screened before it can be placed in a care package. This is a massive undertaking, and we want to train more Letter Screening Team volunteers. One requirement after training is that you need to be able to pick up/drop off letters at our Chatsworth location. Are you interested in additional information? Let us know by sending an email to info@operationgratitude.com (include the words “Letter Screening Team Information” in the subject line) and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

More questions? Send an email to info@operationgratitude.com

THANK YOU for your support!

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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19 Responses to Take time to say, “Thank you for serving!”

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  13. thank you ALL for sharing this – I am the wife of a deployed sailor and I cannot even begin to tell you how much it means to them to get a letter, a card, a drawing, a treat etc – so thank you all for supporting Operation Gratitude in this effort!

    • Thank you, Melissa, for your kind words! We are grateful for your husband’s service…and for your service as well in supporting him throughout his military career, and most especially during his deployment.

  14. Jack Benton says:

    Reblogged this on EHS Safety News America and commented:
    Send a letter to send them inspiration and letting them know that we care!😃

  15. themondaybox says:

    I am passing this info to my daughter (a teacher) and my other teacher friends!🙂 Thank you for the opportunity to show our thanks!🙂

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