Operation Gratitude–You certainly have mine

Paris Hilton is an empty headed bimbo with no redeeming value to society. Anyone who spends more than 3 sentences on her worthless existence should be drawn and quartered.

There. Now on to what actually does matter…you know…actual real hard news. There is a War on Islamofacism going on, the troops need us as much as we need them. Now we can take leftist anti-war protesters and skewer them (verbally) until they cry (what are pacifists going to do, fight back?), but as much fun as that is, it is not enough. Those who support the troops need to do more.

Make no mistake about it. Saying you support the troops by bringing them home is nonsense, since the troops themselves want to finish the mission. They volunteered. Then they reenlisted. So for those who say they support the troops and actually mean it, there is an organization that you should check out. For the sake of full disclosure, I have no financial or other incentive for recommending them.

The group is “Operation Gratitude.” As a tax exempt organization, they are officially apolitical, but make no mistake about…you won’t find Code Pink or Daily Kos parasites here. It takes little energy to get out of bed and hate other people. It takes slightly more energy to say things that are positive. It takes a lot more effort to actually do things that are positive, especially for people you have never met, and who will most likely never meet you. In Jewish law, the greatest of all good deeds is “Tzedakah,” which means “charity.” The level of charity reaches a near zenith when the giver and receiver are unaware of each other. Operation Gratitude is truly fabulous in that regard.

What they do is send care packages to the troops. They send sundries, and other necessities and luxuries. The cynical would wonder why a or how sending bars of soap thousands of miles makes a difference. It does. For those of you who went to sleepaway summer camp, think about how great it felt when mail call was announced. Isolation and loneliness at being separated from family was temporarily eased with the comic books, potato chips and chocolate bars received.

Now picture you are not at summer camp, but at a place where you are getting shot at. You have not seen your family in months, and you go to sleep at night wondering if people care. You hear that the Jayson Blair Times is not only trying to undermine your morale, but trying to get you killed by revealing troop movements to your enemies. Does anyone care? Yes. Lots of people. Normally we call them the silent majority, but at times like this they cannot stay silent. You get that letter or that “care” package (appropriately named) from a total stranger, and you have made a friend for life. Somebody who has never met this soldier is thanking them for being a hero. The soldier has had a tough day, is gritty from the humidity, and probably just wants to wash his face and relax. That bar of soap is an oasis of happiness.

Now there are plenty of reasons to take part in Operation Gratitude. First of all, the woman who started it is incredibly hot. I would elaborate, but she is a married woman, and the last time I lusted after a married woman I started getting hate mail from the John Edwards campaign (No, it was not Elizabeth Edwards I was hitting on…sheesh!). Since this woman is married I will describe her as fetching and attractive, and leave it at that.

The main reason for taking part in Operation Gratitude is that there are so many ways to help. The easiest way is to send them a check. Donations are always helpful. I bought an Operation Gratitude t-shirt. Another way to help is to bring stuff to them to give to the troops. Clothing, sundries, and even stuffed animals can be sent. However, for those who really want an uplifting experience, go to an Operation Gratitude event and become part of an assembly line of angels.

They need people to put the items in the Fedex boxes. They need people to wrap the boxes. They need people to slap the labels on the boxes. They need people, as Fred Thompson said in “Die Harder,” to “Back ’em, stack ’em, and rack ’em.” Loading the items onto the trucks is hard work. The least glamorous job is cleaning up, and the more people that show up, the quicker those who came in the early morning can go home.

Spend a day in a warehouse and you will never see shipping or logistics the same way again. Then again, it is nothing compared to being in a foxhole, which I thankfully have never experienced. The bottom line is every piece in the chain makes a difference. Preparing care packages to the troops does matter. It is as soul satisfying as it is relevant.

Go to the internet and research Operation Gratitude. They have events year round, and some coming up soon. We can win this War on Terror, and our soldiers are doing their part with honor and dignity. We need to do our part.

Forget the anti-war protesters. They are shrill in voice but low in numbers. Do not mistake their loudness or television face time for significance. The silent majority needs to speak up, and act now. We not only say we support the troops, but are prepared to put our money…and our time…where are mouths are.

Operation gratitude did more for me than I did for the troops. For that I thank them.


3 Responses to “Operation Gratitude–You certainly have mine”

  1. great idea and great comments! one technical note: according to Maimonides, what you wrote: “The level of charity reaches a zenith when the giver and receiver are unaware of each other.” is not the case.

    that is actually the second highest level. and a good one too. but the highest is to get a person back on his/her own two feet via an interest free loan or helping them find a job, or some way of partnering with them to get them an income.

    just fyi – and be sure that operation gratitude’s financial report numbers add up – i always check before i donate. i do NOT want any tzedakah money to get wasted on people’s salaries and other potentially high overhead issues.

    arnie draiman

  2. BrianR says:

    But… but…. Paris might have to go back to jail!

  3. Carolyn says:

    My thanks to Eric for his kind words and all his efforts at our Armory last weekend. He better watch out or he will be a Supervisor before he knows it! :)

    I appreciate Arnie’s concerns about finances and am pleased to address them:
    We are an all-volunteer organization (no salaries are paid), and we have no overhead, as the staging takes place at a National Guard Armory (we are not charged rent), and the “business” takes place out of my home (I pay for all related expenses personally…eg. phone, utilities, etc). All donated funds are used to pay for production and shipping expenses (postage, labels, tape, equipment, insurance,etc) and communications, which consists primarily of the upkeep of the website. We do not expend funds on fundraising campaigns (eg. direct mail or staging events). All contents of the packages are donated by individuals and groups through collection drives, or by companies that donate their own products. Our budget for 2007 is $1.2 Million (quite high for a grass-roots, all-volunteer org), of which $1.1 MIllion is postage. As each of our care packages is addressed to a specific service member, the only means of transport is through the Military Postal system via the USPS; only an Act of Congress can provide a discount or elimination of that cost ($9.15 per package). Our overall cost per package is $10; the donated contents of each package are worth ~$125.

    Operation Gratitude is a California corporation, granted 501(c)(3) exempt status by the IRS, and recognized as a charitable organization by the California Franchise Tax Board. We filed our first tax returns in fiscal year 2003. We file annual tax returns with the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board and comply with all filing requirements applicable to tax exempt organizations. The IRS and Franchise Tax Board can confirm our status to you. Audited financial statements for 2006 are available upon request.

    Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] for additional information about Operation Gratitude and/or how to participate in our program.

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