9 Ways You Can Make a Service Member Smile from Wherever You Are


Operation Gratitude may be headquartered in the Los Angeles area, but you can help us make a difference regardless of where you live. Read below for ways you can put smiles on the faces of our troops and veterans from wherever you are!

1. Send Us Your Beanie Babies We put Beanie Babies and other small plush toys in the care packages we send to deployed troops. Read why we do this!

2. Organize a Collection Drive Our volunteers nationwide have generously devoted their time to running successful collection drives for Operation Gratitude using our wish list as a guide. Why not organize one in your community?

3. Recfirst deployment packageycle Your Used Cell or Smart Phone We’ve partnered with GRC Wireless, a company that will recycle your used cell or smart phone, or electronic device, in a way that is both environmentally responsible and beneficial to Operation Gratitude!

4. Get Crafty Our troops are touched by the handmade items — like crocheted scarves and paracord survival bracelets — created by our thoughtful supporters and included in our care packages.  Use your pattern or learn ours.

5. Write a Letter Personal letters of appreciation are forever cherished by our military and veterans — especially those who are far from home. Say “Thank You” in your own words.

6. Get Your Company Involved There are many ways your business can make a huge impact by engaging employees, donating products and partnering with us.  Tell us what interests you.

sailor package7. Donate a Vehicle Designate Operation Gratitude as your military charity of choice and ensure that your old car goes toward a great cause. Plus — you get a tax benefit!

8. Shop AmazonSmile Designate Operation Gratitude as your charity of choice and we will receive 0.5% of the price of your purchase. Be sure to check out our Amazon wish list!

9. Make a Donation Each care package we send costs $15 to assemble and ship. Help us in our March to a Second Million by covering the cost of shipping one or more care packages. You can donate in memory of a loved one, or include a personalized message to the troops.

Don’t forget to visit our website for more special events and promotions!

Questions, comments or ideas? We want to hear them! Email us at info@operationgratitude.com.

THANK YOU! Your continued dedication helps us to touch the lives of those who protect our own. 

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Join the “Letters from Home” Campaign!

Calling all kids — and adults, too! Learn how you can help Team Kids, Inc. break a Guinness World Record AND support our troops and veterans at the same time!

TK Letters from HomeDownload letter templates and guidelines from the Team Kids, Inc. blog. Send in your letters before May 18 and after they’re counted towards the World Record they will be included in Operation Gratitude care packages!

For more information/questions, please contact Marissa Camacho at marissa@teamkids.org

THANK YOU for your support!

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What a “Month of Giving”!

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In March, Jersey Mike’s Subs supported Operation Gratitude at 91 Southern California locations during its 5th Annual Month of Giving and we now have the results to share:

At least $396,229 was raised in this amazing grassroots campaign!

This extraordinary donation will result in more than 26,000 packages being shipped to our Troops and Veterans. The timing is perfect too, as we have significantly increased the number of packages that we plan to send this year.

THANK YOU to everyone who made $1, $3 and $5 donations all month long and THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Jersey Mike’s “Day of Giving” on March 25th, when 100% of all sales were donated to our cause.

Last, but not least, THANK YOU to the entire Jersey Mike’s Subs Family! We are in awe of all that was accomplished and all the many worthwhile causes you supported!

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Buy a Sub and Make a Difference!

We are honored and grateful to be among the charities supported by Jersey Mike’s Subs during its 5th Annual Month of Giving! Throughout March, 91 stores in Southern California — from Santa Maria to Laguna Niguel — have been supporting
 Operation Gratitude and this week, on the “Day of Giving” — Wednesday, March 25 — 100% of sales from those stores will be donated to our charity! 

That’s every penny from every sale!IMG_3429D

Here is a link to all the stores that are supporting Operation Gratitude:


No matter where you live, you can support a worthy cause when you visit your local Jersey Mike’s this month. Find a list of ALL the charities and links to the participating stores here: https://www.jerseymikes.com/mog/#charities

BONUS: Receive $1 off any sub! (Offer valid through 3/25: http://tinyurl.com/qhyh72g)

THANK YOU for your support! Please join us in thanking Jersey Mike’s for making a difference for so many great charities, all across the country. 

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Thank YOU for your support!

2014 donationsTogether we will create even MORE smiles in 2015!

As always, THANK YOU for generosity and support!

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New Recruit Care Packages Thank Troops From Day One

Operation Gratitude
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 hopes to bring the Army and Air Force 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 Operation Gratitudethe 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

20141212_153102In addition to an assortment of 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. Individual requests for our regular care packages to deployed troops can still be made through the Operation Gratitude website.

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. For more information, please visit: How You Can Help

Congratulations and many thanks to all our New Recruits and their Loved Ones!

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An Award-Winning Salute…with Gingerbread!

Gingerbread_closeup (1280x853)Yes, it’s true — this Soldier and the care package before him are made out of gingerbread (and other edibles)!

Jennifer Elmore’s amazing “A Soldier’s Christmas” is among the Top-10 ribbon winners of the 22nd Annual National Gingerbread House competition.

As the daughter of a now-retired two-star U.S. Army general, Jennifer knows all about military Gingerbread_MikeandJenniferfamilies and her work is a tribute to them.

“I hope in some small way this honors the sacrifices service members and their families make for us every day, but especially at this time of year,” she says. 

We are very grateful that Jennifer (pictured here with her husband, Mike) chose to use her talents to highlight Operation Gratitude’s work. Look carefully at the photo up top and you can see Operation Gratitude’s logo on the gingerbread care package!

Jennifer is a Wells Fargo team member, and you can read more about her special creation in the company’s recent blog post:

Saluting service members’ sacrifices — in gingerbread!

The winning gingerbread entries are on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina through January 1.

(Photos courtesy of Wells Fargo.)

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