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.
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.”
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.
–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 locations. 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:
Letters may be sent together in one large mailing envelope or box to:
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU for your support!