Donate Cell Phones & Smartphones to Benefit our Military in 2018

We wanted to give you all an update on this program: With the proceeds from all of the smartphones and cell phones that have been donated and recycled in the last five years, Operation Gratitude has sent 15,788 Care Packages! THANK YOU!

Operation Gratitude Blog
Is it time to upgrade your cell phone or smartphone? Want to help support the Military Community and Operation Gratitude’s Programs when you do?GRC Supports Operation Gratitude

Donate your phoneand GRC Wireless will recycle it and contribute up to $150 (or more) to Operation Gratitude for each phone!

That means one donated phone can help pay to ship 10 or more care packages!

It’s simple! Visit the GRC website for all the information and instructions. Shipping is FREE for 10 or more phones — download and use this flyer to organize a collection drive at your place of business, school, club or in your neighborhood.

IMG_0931Questions? Visit theGRC FAQ page, send an email to or give them a call at 877-744-3601.

Your donation will help Operation Gratitude support veterans, deployed troops, new recruits, wounded warriors and military families!

Check out other ways you can Help Make More Smiles…

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Tom Connolly’s Walk Across America

Tom Connolly Walks AmericaYou may have been following Tom Connolly, a devoted friend to Operation Gratitude who has been walking (yes, walking) across the country to raise money and awareness for our troops. For the past several years, he organized a wonderful comedy night fundraiser for us in Los Angeles, CA, but in 2015, Tom wanted to step up his game in a big way.

A really big way, actually…

That’s how Tom ConnollyTC Walks America was born!

Tom began his journey on April 25th at the Armory in Van Nuys where he officially kicked off his amazing adventure with a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony in front of hundreds of Operation Gratitude volunteers.

He loaded up his gear and we sent him on his way…

Since that Saturday afternoon, Tom has trekked more than 2,000 miles in rain, sun, snow, sleet, and even a tornado scare! Nothing has stopped him and we are amazed by his incredible perseverance, spirit, and dedication to this cause.

GOgroove Supports Operation GratitudeWith a little over 1,000 miles to go, Tom will pass through Chicago this coming weekend. We hope all of you will cheer him on via messages on his Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram pages! Let’s show him some love!

One more thing: Tom has raised just over $16,000 toward his fundraising goal of $30,000! He asks for a penny a mile ($30) to help support his campaign which also translates to sending two care packages to our troops. You can help him reach his goal by clicking here.

Every penny helps Tom get one step closer to his goal (literally)! Thank you!

TCWalks TShirt

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GuideStar Serves U.S. Troops Through Operation Gratitude

Guidestar Serves U.S. Troops Through Operation Gratitude

GuideStar USA is the industry standard reporting service for all IRS-registered nonprofit organizations in the United States. When it came time for the company’s staff retreat this year, GuideStar wanted to make “hands-on volunteerism” a big part of it. “We help nonprofit organizations accomplish their missions through tools and data, but we wanted to take it a step further and help a cause through physical volunteer activity,” said Shane Ward, Data Architect.

Guidestar Serves U.S. Troops Through Operation Gratitude“We all have nonprofits that are dear to us,” said Ward when asked why GuideStar chose to partner with Operation Gratitude. “My issue is Veterans. I was in the Army, and I’m a member of my local American Legion post.” Ward thought it would be meaningful to send care kits full of essential items to Veterans.  When he did a Google search to find out how to accomplish that, Operation Gratitude was the first name that came up.

GuideStar gold“Operation Gratitude has a gold-level seal from GuideStar. You guys are doing everything we would ask that the nonprofit sector do in this age regarding social media, Internet reputation, a clear idea of what your programs are and what your impact is.” Ward also praised Operation Gratitude for displaying its metrics and audited financial online, which bolstered his decision to partner with this Military support group.

During their retreat, GuideStar employees made 400 paracord survival bracelets and assembled 500 care kits with supplies they ordered through Operation Gratitude. All in just a few short hours!

GuideStar surveyed its employees about what they liked most out of all the volunteer activities they performed during their two-day retreat, which featured multiple events and speakers. Overwhelmingly, the staff favored making paracord bracelets for the troops. “Personally, I enjoyed the entire process,” added Ward. “Not only was it simple to plan and coordinate, but I had a good time acting as a representative for Operation Gratitude.”

Guidestar Serves U.S. Troops Through Operation GratitudeWhat was the biggest benefit to partnering with Operation Gratitude for a team-building exercise? “Doing our part and supporting everything we represent, all uniting in a common mission,” said Ward. “We also encouraged people to tell their personal stories of their own community involvement, so people got to share.”

Operation Gratitude is honored to work with many wonderful companies and organizations throughout the United States. We were privileged to partner with GuideStar, an organization that has brought such considerable and positive change to the U.S. nonprofit sector.

Thank you, GuideStar, for your thoughtful efforts!

Interested in planning a similar event for your company and staff? We would love to work with you! Contact us at for more information.

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We Asked… and You Delivered!

June Assembly DaysLast week, Operation Gratitude held two specially scheduled volunteer Assembly Days on Thursday, June 25 and Friday, June 26 — a slight departure from our usual weekend Assembly Days.

Weeks ago, we received requests for an additional 5,000 New Recruit and Deployed Troop Care Packages. Despite busy work schedules and summer heat, our loyal volunteers heeded our call and far exceeded that goal. After two days of your hard work, we ended up with 7,224 packages to ship and deliver!

Five hundred (500!) of our amazing volunteers turned out last week to help, including: Reagan Foundation scholarship winners, Disney, Target, employees of NBCUniversal and Kaiser Permanente, Troop 2 – Santa Clarita of the Boy Scouts of America, Team Kids, the North Hollywood Cadet Program and Jeopardy North Hollywood, and members of the American Legion Squadron 283. We were also joined by Sisters and Elders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  These Missionaries volunteer at the Armory every week and have established themselves as essential to our continued success. 

June Assembly Days 2

We also had the pleasure of working side by side with our community volunteers and their families — many of whom play an integral part in our daily operations. 

June Assembly Days 3In addition to the impressive number of care packages assembled last week, our volunteers made over 1,500 paracord survival bracelets and assembled more than 3,000 “Loved One Medallions” for the New Recruit packages.  The Thursday and Friday attendees also took time to pen personal letters of support to those deployed in harm’s way. 

Check out our Facebook page for more photos from last week.

Were you unable to make it to last week’s Assembly Days? You can still show our Service Members, Veterans and Military Families you care by sending them a personal message — along with a pack of M&Ms — here!

Thank you to every volunteer for participating month after month to put smiles on the faces of the brave men and women serving our country. We hope to see you all at the next Assembly Day!

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Smiles from Around the World

Every week, Operation Gratitude is contacted by recipients of our care packages who want to thank our donors and volunteers for the time and effort they generously devote to making our troops and veterans feel special. Here are some of the responses and photos we received over the last month.

“Thank you from our new Marine. He graduated May 1st in San Diego.” New Recruit copy

“My dad says thank you for your kindness. He is a WWII Veteran, age 91. He was a medic from 1942-1944; Served in South Pacific in 1944 in New Guinea. He was 18 when he signed up for the Army. So grateful for wonderful organizations like yours. He was on the Greater Peoria Honor flight this June. Those are amazing people and he had a wonderful memorable day he will never forget.”Op Vet

“Thank you very much for the care packages. The Marines enjoyed them. Thank you again! R/S SSgt J.J.H.” FINAL 1

“Thank you for all of the letters, cards and goodies. It was very much appreciated. From Operation Atlantic Resolve ***, we enjoyed everything in the box. You all are going a great deed for our country. WO1 J.M.”FINAL 2

“Thank you so much! CW2 S.D.S.”FINAL 4

“Greetings From Afghanistan! We are happy to report that we have received the packages you sent us. We are truly grateful for all of the letters and goodies. We appreciate your service to recognize deployed military members all over the world.”FINAL 5 - M.A.

“The gang really appreciates you taking the time and effort to send us all that stuff. Thank you so much and please pass it on to all involved.  SMSgt V.”FINAL 3

And from all of us at Operation Gratitude, THANK YOU for all your generosity that enables us to continue sending these very special care packages!

Want to know how you can help lift the spirits of our Military and Veterans from wherever you are? Click here for ideas.

For more photos of our care packages arriving around the world, please visit our Facebook page.

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9 Ways You Can Make a Hero 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 and all our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) for more special events and promotions!

Is your loved one deployed? Request an Operation Gratitude care package today:

Questions, comments or ideas? We want to hear them! Email us at

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

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:

More than $396,200 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:

BONUS: Receive $1 off any sub! (Offer valid through 3/25:

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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