By Carolyn Blashek
Operation Gratitude, the non-profit, volunteer-based organization that sends care packages to troops deployed in harm's way, will have cause for celebration as the 600,000th package rolls off the assembly line on Saturday, December 11, 2010.
Director of Operations Charlie Othold expects the milestone 600,000th package to hit the assembly line around 11:15 a.m., to the cheers of up to 1,000 volunteers, Military members, legislators, and celebrities.
In addition to standard items and personal letters provided by more than 250 Corporate Sponsors and Friends and tens of thousands of individual donors across the country, "The 600,000th Care Package will include a classically American surprise generously donated by one of our Corporate Partners," exclaimed Carolyn Blashek, who started the organization in 2003. A special delivery of the 600,000th Package is being arranged. Five previous Operation Gratitude milestone packages contained the keys to new vehicles.
The five winners of the online Halloween "Guess the Candy Weight 2010 Contest," will also be announced and awarded prizes. The Contest remains open to enter through December 5.
Military and political dignitaries, along with representatives from many of the organization's Corporate Sponsors, will join the Operation Gratitude volunteers to assemble thousands of troop gifts in addition to the 600,000th Care Package. Delicious product samples and a hearty lunch will be provided by Corporate and local business donors.
Media are invited to attend the Milestone Celebration and the Lunch following the ceremony.
WHAT: Operation Gratitude Volunteers assemble the 600,000th Care Package
WHEN: Saturday, December 11, 2010
Care Package Assembly starts at 9 a.m.
The 600,000th Package Assembly and Celebration will occur: 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: California National Guard Armory
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Corner of Victory and Louise; parking available on adjacent lot
Volunteers (ages 12 years and older) are welcome to assist in the on-site care package activities.
Financial donations are still needed to help pay the assembly and postage expenses of $15 per package. Every tax deductible donation of $15 sends another care package, personally addressed to an American hero in harm's way, and filled with 50+ assorted snack, entertainment and personal care items valued at $100 or more.
Online donations can be made here: Donate
Donations by check can be made payable and mailed to:
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436
About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way. The organization's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at ~$125 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 595,000 packages to American Military deployed overseas. The 600,000th package will be assembled and shipped on December 11, 2010.
Learn more about Operation Gratitude by visiting: