No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, at least you know you have the right to hold the opinions you do — and to speak your mind about them.
That right, in large part, is secure thanks to our military service members. They risk their lives and work their butts off every day to protect and preserve the freedoms Americans enjoy.
That’s a pretty big sacrifice. What if you had a way to say “Thank you” that would cost you absolutely nothing except a few minutes of your time?
As it turns out, you do.
Send Free Care Packages for Troops Through Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit organization whose volunteers send more than 250,000 care packages to deployed U.S. service members every year.
Each package comes with practical stuff like hygiene products and fun stuff like snacks and handwritten letters. A peek at the photo gallery reveals a lot of candy and Beanie Babies — and is almost guaranteed to make you smile.
Each box is valued between $75 and $100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship, and no one doing the heavy lifting is paid for their time.
But despite all that, the packages are 100% free for you to send to a uniformed, faraway someone.
And it literally couldn’t be simpler.
To send your favorite soldier their very own care package, all you have to do is fill out this form.
Aside from your personal information, you’ll need to have the recipient’s APO or FPO address and rank, as well as an expected date of return.
Note also that the packages are reserved for soldiers who are “deployed at sea, in hostile environments overseas or on unaccompanied hardship tours.”
And that’s it — just fill it out and click submit.
Since the organization is trying to fill as many requests as possible, they’ll only accept one request per member within a three-month period. And if you’re requesting care packages for five or more soldiers at the same address, please use the Group Request Form instead.
Don’t personally know an eligible soldier? You can still get involved: Write letters to line the boxes sent to others’ loved ones, or if you’re in the organization’s Chatsworth area, volunteer to help assemble packages or do community service.
And if you have the means, we can think of no finer way to spend hoarded pennies than to donate some of them to Operation Gratitude.
After all, it feels good to say “Thank you” — for both sayer and soldier alike.
Your Turn: Who will you request an Operation Gratitude care package for?
Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.