Los Angeles, CA, July 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Operation Gratitude and the American Red Cross are joining forces to bring Christmas in July, with the delivery of care packages to more than 10,000 deployed troops serving in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The first shipment of care packages marks the beginning of a promising relationship between the two non-profits, and the launch of a partnership that will achieve greater impact by combining efforts to provide comfort, entertainment and care items to thousands of Service Members stationed overseas each year. This impact is apparent in the words of one soldier whose unit recently received a care package:

"Thank you for all that you do for the United States Military and all of the members that defend our freedom and the American way of life. Our unit received your care packages, and we were extremely pleased. Deploying to austere and hostile combat environments is part of the job that we signed up for. Supporting us with the items and letters you provided was a great morale booster for our unit.”

Since its inception in March of 2003, when it sent its first four care packages to deployed service members in Iraq, Operation Gratitude has given millions of Americans the opportunity to express appreciation to deployed service members through hands-on volunteerism, and have lifted the spirits of more than 1.8 million deployed troops, and another 900,000 recruit graduates, veterans, military families, and first responders. Corporate partners and grateful citizens from across the country donate more than 10 million “Wish List” and handmade items each year to fill care packages. Through donation drives, letter-writing campaigns, craft projects, hands-on service projects, and other activities, volunteers are the heart and soul of the organization.

The American Red Cross has supported service members in uniform since the founding of our organization more than 135 years ago. Today, the Red Cross is proud to maintain our commitment to the people who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, supporting the military community at every step – from a service member’s entry and taking of the oath, through to the end of their military career as a veteran. Each year, through its Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) division, the Red Cross provides nearly 471,000 services to members of the military, veterans and their families, including the delivery of comfort kits to deployed service members, by leveraging a network of some 14,700 volunteers across the country and around the world. Through its global presence the Red Cross provides in-person support for troops on more than 100 military installations and deployment sites worldwide.

The partnership between the American Red Cross and Operation Gratitude will enable both organizations to make a difference in the lives of significantly more deployed service members and further strengthen communities by bridging the civilian-service member divide.

“As we have all seen recently, the world can turn upside down in a week. One thing that we can always count on during tumultuous times are our military,” said Operation Gratitude CEO, retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel.  “While they continue to serve, Operation Gratitude will continue to support them by delivering millions of critically needed items and letters of appreciation globally to deployed troops. The power of our partnership with the Red Cross will be realized in the smiles we bring to the faces of hundreds of thousands of service members in the coming years.”

American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Senior Vice President, Koby Langley remarked, "The Red Cross has provided care and comfort items for our troops since the Spanish American War, inspired by, our founder, Clara Barton’s care of soldiers at Antietam in 1862. Since then our service and dedication to our troops has remained uninterrupted. Today, we are proud to partner with Operation Gratitude and Kevin Schmiegel, to expand our support for troops overseas."

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude is the largest nonprofit in the country for hands-on volunteerism in support of Military, Veterans, and First Responders. Since 2003, the organization has delivered more than 2.7 Million Care Packages and has provided opportunities for countless Americans to forge strong bonds with their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. In 2019 alone, more than 1 Million volunteers participated in 10,000 Operation Gratitude Service Projects nationwide. They believe that the best way to forge strong bonds and build bridges between grateful Americans and their military and first responder heroes is through actions in communities nationwide, and Operation Gratitude is uniquely positioned to do just that. For more information visit OperationGratitude.com, or follow us on Twitter at @OpGratitude.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Attachments

Danielle Tenconi
Operation Gratitude
2543830779
dtenconi@operationgratitude.com