Each issue in this section, the editorial staff of Military Embedded Systems will highlight a different charity that benefits military veterans and their families. We are honored to cover the technology that protects those who protect us every day. To back that up, our parent company – OpenSystems Media – will make a donation to every charity we showcase on this page.
This issue we are highlighting Operation Gratitude, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that serves the U.S. military and first responder communities. Each year, the organization’s volunteers send more than 300,000 individually addressed care packages to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel deployed overseas; to their families and children at home; and to first responders, new recruits, veterans, wounded heroes, and military family caregivers stateside. Each volunteer-assembled package – holding donated products valued between $45 and $100 – contains snacks, hygiene products, entertainment, and handmade items, as well as personal letters of support.
Founder Carolyn Blashek started the charity in 2003 after a stint volunteering for a military organization drove home the point that many deployed service members needed to know that people back home were thinking of them. She also wanted to bridge the military/civilian gap and enable regular citizens to express their thanks to troops and first responders by giving their time to assemble and send care packages.
To meet the changing needs of its target population, since its inception Operation Gratitude has launched multifaceted programs including Battalion Buddies, which sends stuffed toys to the children of deployed troops; Wounded Warrior and Veteran Care Package programs; food and necessities through Military Family Packages for those facing hardship in difficult economic times; and First Responder Program disaster-relief packages for those who volunteer during disasters.
For more information on Operation Gratitude, please visit www.operationgratitude.com.