Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Yet many of our military personnel are living in awful conditions on behalf of our country. I talked about the importance of gratitude last month. I’ve experienced the blessings of giving back, many times over. Here’s an opportunity to support the men and women who far from home during the holidays.

It doesn’t matter whether you support the war. The people in our military are following orders to support our country and should be honored and appreciated! To that end, I wanted to let you know about an organization that’s doing great things to make things a bit brighter for those that might not have a happy holiday. YOU can help! There are many organizations sending car packages overseas to people in the military. One that I like is called Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude is a California- based 501 (c) (3) non-profit, all-volunteer organization that sends care packages of 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 military ships at sea. Its mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to our troops that they have the appreciation and support of the American people.

Operation Gratitude receives the names of troops from commanders in the field who see the positive impact of care packages on their troops’ morale; the organization sends more than 100,000 care packages every year. For safety and security, all assembling of packages is done at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Beginning in March, 2003, Operation Gratitude will have shipped over 300,000 packages to American troops deployed overseas any day now.

There’s not much time if you want to help for this holiday season. All items and letters must be shipped or delivered for the holidays by December 15 and they do another drive from April 15 to June 15. I know people who did drives in their schools and churches. I led one 2 years ago. It’s very rewarding! The most needed items are:

DVDs * CDs, Batteries (all sizes) * Computer Flash Drives * Beanie Babies * Small Novelty Items * ?Disposable Cameras? * Prepaid Phone Cards * Travel-Size Board Games * Handheld electronic games * Bandana Coolers/Cool-Ties * Mini-Battery-operated Fans * Hand and Foot Warmers? * Commercially wrapped individual packets of Trail Mix * Beef Jerky * Nuts * Energy Bars * Sunflower Seeds * Candy * Ready To Eat Tuna or Chicken Salad kits? * Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies * Small tins of Danish Cookies * Packets of Powdered Cold Beverages * Commercially sealed Lip Balm * roll-on deodorant * toothpaste * toothbrushes * Individual packets of moist towelettes * Travel Size containers of Foot Powder * Screen Printed T-Shirts, Socks?Baseball Style Caps, Knit Hats and Gloves; Neck Gators * Tobacco Products? * ?Used Cell Phones * Video Games and Systems * IPODs * PDAs

If you want to send a care package for our overseas troops, send them to:??
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard?
17330 Victory Boulevard ?
Van Nuys, California 91406 ?
ATTN: Charlie Othold: 818.437.6201

They also appreciate any contributions toward the cost of shipping the packages overseas. Mail checks separately from packages so it gets to the right hands. All financial donations will be acknowledged. If you would like to receive an acknowledgment for donated items, include your name and address inside the shipment or send an email to Acknowledgments will be sent within three months.

For more information about Operation Gratitude and how it works, please visit their site or call 818.909.0039. You will be blessed for sharing!

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