Volunteering at Operation Gratitude

When I asked if we should put different Girl Scout cookie varieties in the packages for the troops instead of two of the same, a veteran replied, "No, they just give them to Afghan children, who in turn, tell them where the bombs are." I knew then that I wasn't just packing mere care packages.

I've written in the past about Operation Gratitude, which sends personal care packages to the troops-at least 100,000 per year. I had originally heard about the organization at last year's The Women's Conference. Inspired by the program, I had a little party where my girlfriends and I wrote letters to the soldiers to accompany Operation Gratitude's boxes.

This last weekend though, I got to see the whole operation in full force when I volunteered at the non-profit's headquarters--a garage at the California Army National Guard in Van Nuys- to help assemble the packages going out. Over 150 volunteers were there and it was a massive assembly line. My job was putting in DVDs along the side of the box (a lot of which were donated by the Walt Disney Home Entertainment team :) or were Emmy screeners of TV shows) into the boxes. Sounds simple enough, but the boxes were actually coming by really quickly and I had to put them in upright in every other box and would lose my order for a second. I couldn't help but be reminded of the classic I Love Lucy episode. Other items going overseas included books, toiletries, snacks, and handwritten letters.

Learn easy ways how you can get involved.

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