Operation Gratitude: Donating Handmade Gifts to Deployed Troops - ITS Tactical

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Operation Gratitude: Donating Handmade Gifts to Deployed Troops

By Kelly Black

Operation Gratitude

Back in 2011 I first learned about Operation Gratitude and their year round mission to “to lift spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military.”

Along with other members of the ITS Community,  I’ve made scarves to send in as part of their holiday/winter donation campaign to be included in some of the care packages being sent to our troops around the world. This is now my 4th year donating handmade items and I couldn’t be more proud to continue my tradition this year.

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude is an organization that began in 2003 by volunteering to create care packages to send to our military in order to boost morale and remind our service members that they have the appreciation and support of Americans back home. December 7, 2013 marks the momentous day when Operation Gratitude shipped out their one millionth care package and their donations are still going strong!

If you’re just learning about Operation Gratitude and aren’t a knitter or crocheter, don’t worry, there are so many other ways you can contribute to the cause. Paracord bracelets that are 8″ in length and Cool-Ties are other handmade items that Operation Gratitude is collecting for their care packages. Handmade scarves and hats are being collected now through mid-December, handmade cool-ties are collected from March through May each year and paracord bracelets are accepted year round.

For more details about the guidelines for making scarves, cool-ties, paracord bracelets and even donating a used cell phone, visit Operation Gratitude here and be sure to print out the donation form to include with your package. You can also follow along with a few of our ITS Knot of the Week tutorials, click here to make a standard Paracord Bracelet, here for a Micro Paracord Bracelet and here to make a Quick-Release Paracord Bracelet.

If handmade donations just aren’t your cup of tea that’s ok, too. You can write a letter to a deployed or wounded soldier, donate a Beanie Baby that will be sent to comfort a service member’s son or daughter or make a monetary donation that will support the creation and transport of care packages all around the world. The value of donations that go into each care package is approximately $140 and it costs about $15 to assemble and ship each one. That adds up to a lot of dough needed to support Operation Gratitude as they extend their reach around the globe. According to Operation Gratitude, “98% of all donations [go] to Program Services” which means that “administrative and fundraising expenses are only 1.3% of our budget.” Find out more about Operation Gratitude’s Program Services here.

Support for our military comes in all forms, whether you want to send a handmade gift of encouragement and support, or donate to the cause that makes this type of giving possible, Operation Gratitude makes it easy.

Be sure to follow Operation Gratitude on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram so you can check out the amazing photos and letters from troops who have received the kindness of others through this wonderful organization.

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  • randypb

    Thanks Kelly! I’ve been supporting Operation Gratitude for years, I think I started because of ITS’s support for them on your website. Couldn’t be a better cause. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone, but remember our troops and first responders all year ’round. Next time you’re in a restaurant, anonymously pay for their meal. That should be the essence of the holiday season, or any other day during the year, to lift someone’s spirit by letting them know you care.

    • kellyblack

      randypb That’s so great to hear! I’m really amazed at how much OG is able to do for our military. I love seeing the photographs that are shared online when the care packages are opened up. Thanks so much for your feedback and your ongoing support of our service members. Buying a meal is the least we can do, you’re right about that. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, too! : )

  • DavidKlimovich

    Hello Kelly, I would love to buy one of those scarves for my girlfriend. Can I buy one or more of those scarves on this website?
    Thank you

    • kellyblack

      DavidKlimovich Thank you, I appreciate that, but all of the scarves I’ve made have been sent to Operation Gratitude.

  • sharon_sw

    Kelly could you possibly make a tutorial on the scarves? This would be awesome thanks

    • kellyblack

      sharon_sw Here is a link to Operation Gratitude that has lots of details about making the size of scarves they are collecting. There are also numerous videos on YouTube that will help teach crocheting and knitting scarves if you’re just starting out or need help with a specific type of stitch.  I’ve crocheted scarves in the past using the single crochet, half double crochet and double crochet stitches. The scarves I’ve knitted have been using plain garter stitch or stockinette.


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