Have you heard of Operation Gratitude? Every year this organization sends hundreds of thousands of care packages to the Armed Forces deployed overseas and to their families left behind. They also send care packages to First Responders, New Recruits, Veterans, Wounded Heroes and their caregivers.
Each package contains snacks and hygiene products, handmade items, letters of support and entertainment. To date, they have sent over 2 million care packages around the world.
Founded in 2003
After 9-11, founder Carolyn Blashek started volunteering at the military lounge at Los Angeles airport. In March of that year, a Soldier came into the office and broke down at her desk. He was on leave from a war zone for his mother’s funeral, his wife had left him, and his only child had died as an infant—he had no one else in his life.
“I’m going back over there; I know I won’t make it back this time, but it really doesn’t matter because no one would even care,” he told her. Right then, Blashek realized that troops must believe that someone at home cares about them as an individual. That’s when Operation Gratitude was born.
Donate Your Halloween Candy
So what does Operation Gratitude have to do with Halloween? Everything. Through collection drives this organization is able to include treats in these care packages and Halloween is the perfect time to do that. The Halloween Candy Give Back Program hosted by dentists, businesses and groups support this endeavor. If you’d like to participate, even just individually, read these rules and guidelines for candy donation. You’ll need to complete their online donation form and ship the candy to their facility at your expense. All candy must be shipped to Operation Gratitude by November 8th.
Write Letters or Send Wish List Items
In addition to sending in your Halloween candy, you can also write letters of gratitude and donate wish list items for these care packages. Visit this page for instructions. They willingly provide a guide for letter writing. If you’d like to donate wish list items follow this link for details.
My children’s dentist has supported this organization through their candy give back event in the past. I think Operation Gratitude is a wonderful way to support those who do so much for us. Follow Operation Gratitude on Facebook as well as the Halloween Candy Give-Back Program for up to date information.