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Operation Gratitude and CSX to Assemble 7,500 Care Packages for Deployed Service Members During Record Deployments

Jacksonville, June 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In honor of Christmas in July, national nonprofit Operation Gratitude, in partnership with CSX, will assemble 7,500 Care Packages for U.S. troops stationed on three continents and on vessels throughout the Pacific and Atlantic. The assembly will occur on June 17 in Jacksonville, Florida, with the help of volunteers from throughout the country, many of whom will travel from out-of-state to volunteer at the event. The assembly coincides with Service Members in the Armed Forces shouldering record-high deployments and missions.

Every day, thousands of U.S. service members are deployed worldwide, separated from their loved ones and the comforts of home. Sadly, many troops rarely -- or sometimes never -- receive mail or messages from home. Receiving mail during Mail Call is important to service members’ morale and well-being, especially during a difficult deployment. Operation Gratitude Care Packages are not just a piece of home, but also a meaningful reminder that a grateful nation stands with the troops.

Operation Gratitude Care Packages contain snacks, personal care and hygiene products, and handmade items, but the most cherished item in the organization’s Care Packages are the handwritten letters from grateful Americans nationwide. These letters are the manifestation of Operation Gratitude's overarching mission to express deep appreciation for those who have stepped forward to serve and sacrifice on our behalf.

This June 17 assembly is part of CSX’s national Pride in Service community investment initiative, which focuses on serving and honoring first responders, military members, and their families, when and where they need it. The event, which marks the second of the summer’s series of hands-on volunteer opportunities, will be hosted by CSX, in partnership with Operation Gratitude.  
“I look forward to standing side-by-side on the Assembly Line with CSX and Operation Gratitude volunteers, several of whom will be making care packages for the units of their own deployed loved ones,” said Carolyn Blashek, Founder and Interim CEO of Operation Gratitude.  “We are honored for the opportunity to show both the troops and their family members how much we, and all Americans, appreciate their service, whether deployed overseas or anxiously waiting at home.”

“At CSX we care deeply about bridging community divides, creating connections, and delivering resources to service members in times of need. Through our long-standing initiative, Pride in Service, we are committed to supporting military families when and where they need it, and this event puts that mission into action. Together, as ONE CSX, our employees will assemble thousands of Care Packages for deployed troops to serve as a reminder that grateful civilians back home value their sacrifices.” said Bryan Tucker, vice president corporate communications, CSX.

Care Package assembly days are essential to fulfilling Operation Gratitude's dual mission to say “Thank You” to all who serve, and to provide individuals the opportunity to express their deep appreciation for those who step forward to protect and defend the American people. Operation Gratitude is grateful for national partners like CSX, that ensure one hundred thousand-plus Service Members, Veterans, and first responders will annually receive a lovingly filled Care Package and a critical reminder that a grateful nation thanks them for their service.

About Operation Gratitude  
Operation Gratitude is a nationwide nonprofit whose mission is to lift spirits, say Thank You to our Military and First Responder communities, and honor their service by creating opportunities for all Americans to express their gratitude through hands-on volunteerism. In March 2003, Operation Gratitude sent its first four care packages to deployed service members in Iraq. Since its inception, the organization has delivered more than 3.8 million Care Packages to Deployed Troops, Recruit Graduates, Veterans, Military Families, and First Responders. The Volunteers of Operation Gratitude are a generous and spirited grassroots network of Americans joined in common cause to say “Thank You” to all who serve our great nation. For more information, visit OperationGratitude.com or follow us on social media.

About CSX  
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For nearly 200 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links over 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).

CONTACT: Annie McDougle-Stamey Operation Gratitude amcdougle-stamey@operationgratitude.com