In the spirit of Martin Luther King Service Day, approximately 400 volunteers joined Operation Gratitude, to assemble 25,000 Care Packages at the DC Armory. The packages will be delivered to law enforcement officers, firefighters, and National Guardsmen locally and in more than a dozen cities across America today through Monday.
The massive service project also launches Operation Gratitude’s 2019 campaign to “Make Every Minute Count,” and the goal to deliver more than 525,600 care packages to service members, veterans, first responders and their families – at least one care package every minute of the year.
“Our Care Package recipients are profoundly affected when they learn that, last year alone,780,000 Americans donated time, resources, and energy to express appreciation for their selfless service and sacrifice,” said CEO Kevin Schmiegel. “I’m in awe over everyone’s hard work and dedication today – it demonstrates the tremendous potential for Operation Gratitude and its army of volunteers to truly make every minute count this year.”
Operation Gratitude’s mission is to forge strong bonds between all Americans and their military and first responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. Today’s Assembly Day and the direct delivery of 25,000 Care Packages by grateful citizens to the men and women in uniform who serve and protect them show that hands-on volunteerism and face-to-face interactions can help bridge a growing divide that exists between civilians and those who serve.
Through these activities, Operation Gratitude and its volunteers have provided Care Packages to 1.7 million U.S. Service Members deployed globally and 500,000 veterans, first responders and military families on the home front since 2003. The packages include snacks and hygiene items, as well as scarves, hats, and paracord “survival” bracelets that were “handmade with love” and the most cherished item, handwritten letters of appreciation from Americans everywhere.
The packages assembled today will be hand delivered to 3,000 DC National Guardsmen and 6,000 DC Police, Firefighters, and EMTs in Washington, DC on Thursday afternoon, and more than 1,000 first responders in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia on Friday and Saturday. Operation Gratitude and its partners will build on the success realized in our nation’s capital to host additional large-scale Assembly Days in Austin, San Diego, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York City, and San Antonio in 2019.
Operation Gratitude’s ability to make every minute count and expand its grassroots movement to bridge the civilian-service divide is bolstered by corporate and civic leaders who make up the BRIDGE Council (Bridging the Divide through Gratitude and Engagement). Key partners for today’s event include CSX Corporation, CVS Health, Mars Incorporated, Target, and DC Police Foundation.
Operation Gratitude gives everyone an opportunity to say, “thank you.” Get involved by signing up to be a volunteer at OperationGratitude.com and follow Operation Gratitude on social media (f:@OperationGratitude I/T:@OpGratitude). Corporations can contribute by sponsoring an employee service project or making in-kind donations.