Marty Martin is a wife and mother of 3. Her oldest son has served as an officer in the NAVY for 6-1/2 years, getting out in December. He deployed twice: once on a ship in the Gulf, stationed out of Sasebo, Japan, and once in Iraq with Riverine Squadron, stationed out of Little Creek, VA. As most military families will tell you, “I” deployed twice. When your child is over there, part of you is, too. I have been volunteering with Operation Gratitude for 6 years, and consider myself an Op Great addict!
Founded in March, 2003, Operation Gratitude ( www.OperationGratitude.com ) is the California 501 (c) (3) non-profit, volunteer-based organization that sends care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and on Naval ships at sea. Each service member receives their own care package addressed directly to them.
Each package has 50 or more items
Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to all Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Every American anywhere in the country can participate either by helping at the Armory, writing letters, knitting scarves, recycling cell phones or organizing collection drives or fundraisers in their own community.
Operation Gratitude receives the names of thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from commanders in the field who see the positive impact of care packages on their troops’ morale. Individual service members or their loved ones can submit names to receive packages through the website: www.OperationGratitude.com
The organization sends 100,000+ care packages every year during two major campaigns: A Patriotic Drive in May and a Holiday Drive in the winter. We will send 60,000 packages during the 2010 Holiday Drive. We will send our 600,000th package on December 11th
a. The Patriotic Drive runs April-June; the Holiday Drive runs September-December
b. We welcome volunteers Mon. and Fri. from 9-4 and Tues, Wed and Thurs from 12-4
c. Check website for Weekend dates
Each package contains donated product valued at ~$100-$125 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Donated funds are used to pay the assembly and shipping expenses. Our annual budget is $1.5 Million cash and ~$15 Million of in-kind products and services. For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory at the corner of Victory and Louise in Van Nuys, California. Anyone 12 years and older is welcome to volunteer at the armory.
For more information, visit the website: www.OperationGratitude.com. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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