Operation Gratitude Becomes First Nonprofit to Deliver 250,000 Care Packages to Healthcare Heroes, National Guardsmen, and First Responders in More Than 200 Locations Nationwide
Los Angeles, CA, July 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Operation Gratitude announced the delivery of more than 3 million individual items and 100,000 handwritten letters of appreciation to 250,000 Frontline Responders across the country and around the world. At the onset of COVID-19 the organization, known for delivering more than 2.8 million individual care packages since 2003, pivoted to send bulk shipments of “jumbo care packages” filled with Starbucks Coffee, Mars Wrigley candy, Liquid I.V. hydration drinks, and other snacks, hygiene, and comfort items to hundreds of hospitals and medical clinics, police and fire departments, and National Guard units nationwide.
While many nonprofits have adopted a local approach to COVID-19 relief, the California-based nonprofit created a coalition of national partners and relied heavily on its one million volunteers in order to execute one of the largest coordinated efforts in the country in support of the brave men and women on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic. Over the past twelve weeks, the organization has lifted the spirits of doctors and nurses in epicenter cities like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, and New Orleans; tens of thousands of soldiers and airmen mobilized with the National Guard; and metropolitan police and fire departments in areas most impacted by the coronavirus.
As frontline responders in some areas continue to report higher rates of infection than the general population and hospital workers describe emergency rooms as “battlefields,” they have also shared the tangible impact the jumbo care packages have made during challenging and stressful times. Their stories and images from coast to coast have demonstrated, as one nurse expressed, that “masks cannot hide smiles” and they appreciate the support of a grateful nation.
“Your generous gifts came as an incredible surprise and true acknowledgment of the many long hours our healthcare heroes have given in support of our communities,” said Jane Root, the COO of Chi Franciscan, one of the largest hospital networks in the Seattle-Tacoma area. “This situation has been overwhelming and exhausting for all of us, and an unexpected, magnificent gesture from Operation Gratitude was received with great enthusiasm and appreciation.”
As the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases continue to rise across the nation, Operation Gratitude is on pace to exceed its goal of supporting 300,000 frontline responders, and has pledged to double its current milestone to positively impact more than 500,000 healthcare heroes, first responders, and National Guardsmen, if necessary, at the time of their greatest need.
“The men and women on the frontlines are working tirelessly to fight an invisible enemy in unthinkable conditions while now confronting a second wave of this pandemic. They are exhausted and their spirits are at an all-time low, yet they continue to serve our communities and all of us with courage and resolve,” said the CEO of Operation Gratitude, retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel. “So, we will continue to support them. No matter what the demand is, Operation Gratitude will meet it, because we have the help of our coalition partners and more than one million Americans. Even If we need to support more than half a million heroes — they can’t stop, so we won’t stop.”
Together with the National Coalition to Support COVID-19 Frontline Responders Operation Gratitude has delivered $4.1 Million worth of critically needed items and priceless letters of appreciation globally to the Frontline Responders who need it most.
“With the financial and product support of companies like CSX, Liquid I.V., Mars Wrigley, Prudential Financial, Veterans United Home Loans, LexisNexis®Risk Solutions, Starbucks, and The Starbucks Foundation, this was made possible,” said Schmiegel. “While many organizations have been talking about big numbers and what should be done, we have been taking action. We impacted more than a quarter of a million heroes on a shoestring budget, with a staff of 30 people in just three months, and we are just getting started.”
The efforts of Operation Gratitude and the Coalition continue this week through Independence Day with deliveries scheduled for 23,800 Frontline Responders in the cities of Houston and fittingly Philadelphia, as well as 10,000 Deployed Troops serving 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 2.8 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 www.OperationGratitude.com, or follow us on Twitter at @OpGratitude.