Operation Gratitude Provides Over 25,000 National Guard Troops With Military Care Packages


For months, the National Guard has seen increased use across the country, such as overseeing COVID-19 vaccination distributions. For those that have done their duty in providing protection and a sense of security, Operation Gratitude has compiled 25,000 care packages as a way to say thank you.

Operation Gratitude is a non-profit “dedicated to bridging the civilian-service divide” with the additional goal of providing aid for service members. Both the organization and National Guard saw unprecedented activity in recent months in the battle against the pandemic and its effects on communities.


An operation dedicated to gratitude


Over the course of its history, Operation Gratitude has delivered over three million care packages to troops serving overseas. When the pandemic began, it directed some of those resources to frontline workers. Kevin Schmigel, CEO of Operation Gratitude, expressed pride in “doing the impossible” during a global pandemic.

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Those impossible feats included 25,000 care packages for National Guard service members who’d been called into action across the country. To achieve this, the non-profit called upon over a million volunteers. They helped assemble and package boxes filled with hygiene items, snacks, treasures from home, handmade paracord bracelets (often considered useful survival tools), hand-written letters, and more.

A history of serving those who serve

“Not only do we thank those who serve our country in uniform, but we bring Americans together to better understand what it means to serve,” COO Paul Cucinotta further explained. Operation Gratitude sent its first care package in March of 2003. Then, those packages first went to Iraq. Now, the non-profit assembles packages for service members both abroad and at home for various meaningful events and dates. For example, it gathered volunteers to provide for service members during the nineteenth anniversary of 9/11.

It does the same for each holiday season as well, to give helpful and hopeful packages for those who need it and provided help and hope to others already. The teams ask for certain “Wish List” items and handmade gifts so each package is unique. The organization runs through donation drives, letter-writing campaigns, and crafts and service projects.

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