Operation Gratitude: How You Can Virtually Volunteer & Make a Difference for Our Frontline Responders & Military by Operation Gratitude
As we watch the coronavirus pandemic play out on a global scale and the election anxiety gears up for our nation, it’s easy to feel helpless at times. But no matter who you are or what your situation you can make a difference, and national nonprofit Operation Gratitude can help.
Operation Gratitude is helping Americans across the country participate in volunteer opportunities directly from their homes, leveraging their collective talent and creativity to provide direct support to hundreds of thousands of frontline responders nationwide. If you are continuing to stay home or have returned to the workplace, there are still many ways to get involved, lower your stress, lift your mood and give you a greater sense of purpose during these uncertain times.
Since March 22, Operation Gratitude has positively impacted over 468,000 frontline responders and deployed troops with the support of their virtual volunteer force. Volunteers have donated over 250,000 handwritten letters, 111,000 paracord bracelets and 32,000 handmade with love items to thank frontline responders and military serving overseas. You can make a positive impact by showing your gratitude through #VirtualVolunteerism. As one Operation Gratitude recipient said, “Did you know you would have such a global impact? How could you, right? ... No one truly knows the impact of a single act of service, a single act of kindness.” Here are three ways you can make a difference:
1. Letter Writing
Writing a letter is a meaningful way for Americans to show support for all who serve. It only takes five minutes of your day and brings lasting joy to the recipient. During the ongoing crisis, Operation Gratitude will include thousands of handwritten letters of appreciation, love and support with the much-needed hygiene and comfort items we are sending to those battling this invisible enemy. Our 17 years of experience has shown that when morale is low, a note of appreciation means more than just about anything.
In these unprecedented times, our heroes need our unwavering support. Taking the time to put pen to paper and share your heartfelt thoughts can be what gets a frontline responder through a grueling shift. As one Army Officer separated from his family over the holidays shared, “I cannot express in words what your care packages do for our soldiers. The letters I received today brought joy to an otherwise lonely heart.”
2. Making Paracord Bracelets
By taking the time to craft a paracord bracelet, you are providing a hero with a tangible, lasting expression of your gratitude and a symbol of the appreciation of grateful Americans everywhere. This letter, sent from a deployed Marine on Christmas Day 2016, shows that though a paracord bracelet may seem small, its impact is big: “I am the Chaplain responsible for all Special Forces from every branch of the military. As of this moment, your bracelets (including the one I keep on me) are represented in each of these countries. They are being worn by some of the most elite operators in the world. You should also know that beyond our American forces they are being worn by Special Operations Service Members from Australia, Great Britain, Canada and France.”
Paracord making is an excellent activity to do at home or virtually as a group to give back while staying safe at home. You can purchase the cord in bundles of five by visiting Operation Gratitude’s eBay site.
3. Crafting Handmade With Love Items
There is something about receiving a handmade item that warms the heart. If you knit, crochet or sew, we are calling on you to get out your needles and hooks and redouble your efforts during these challenging times. One of the Operation Gratitude volunteers describes knitting scarves for Troops her “COVID-19 anxiety buster.” If you love to craft, consider hand-making greeting cards so our deployed troops can write to their loved ones at home. Every handmade with love item is an expression of deep appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our recipients.
Established in 1992, this “national day of doing good” promotes the idea of volunteering as a positive and heartwarming event and emphasizes the impact that volunteering can have on one’s own community. Operation Gratitude has a volunteer force of over one million, across the nation, that are driven every day by the fact that no matter what the demand is. Communities are mobilizing to write letters of gratitude, knit and crochet handmade items, host virtual collection drives for care packages and make paracord bracelets. Why not make a difference today?
Photos: Operation Gratitude
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