Along with the items in our box list, (see the "What's In a Box" link) we also include personal thank you notes, hand drawn pictures and notes from local school kids, and home made goodies in each box. We will often receive letters, emails and Facebook posts from the troops who receive them. Their gratitude is overwhelming and inspires us to continue our efforts to send more and more boxes. We are often brought to tears by the heartfelt pictures and notes of appreciation we receive.
We continually collect items and funds to purchase more items to include in the care packages. Linda has a room in her home that is dedicated to Operation America Cares that contains bins for sorting the inventory of items for boxes (see below for pictures of this room). As we approach a mailing date we keep our Facebook page updated with details including the upcoming packing date and items that are in short supply; we will also send out request letters and reminder emails to those who have contributed and assisted in packing in the past. We hope that by keeping Facebook and this website updated with this information we will improve our communication with those who are already on the team and anyone who wants to join in and support our efforts. Generally, the packing is done at Linda’s home a few weeks before we want the care packages to arrive at their destination. There are many tasks that are performed before the actual packing date such as: ordering boxes and custom forms, sorting and pre-staging the items, making up toiletry bags, sorting condiments and candy into zip lock bags, and hand writing thank you notes. We include notes and pictures from local school kids, so any connections you might have with a school could be helpful.
We have a regular schedule for sending packages monthly, and special packings for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, and September 11th. We often get requests for special packings and mailings from local community groups that wish to get involved and help us support the troops. We assist them in organizing the donations and postage as well as as assisting them with the packing on their scheduled packing day.
We normally send about 150 boxes with each mailing, but are limited by the amount of supplies and funds for postage that we have received. For example a full 150 box shipment can cost up to $11,250.00 in items and postage. Donating products help us reduce costs. Postage is fixed at over $2,300 regardless ($16.75 per box, presently.) If you also have a heart for these deployed troops, please consider making a donation.
Our community of participants has grown to include local businesses and organizations, members of our churches, co-workers, and friends of friends and their friends! Our project has taken on a life of its own, and we couldn't be more proud of the support we receive from our packing-day volunteers and financial supporters everywhere. OperationAmerica Cares has been recognized and has been written up in the San Diego area Escondido Magazine and the North County Times! And check out the local Zip Code magazines for the September/October issue for an article on Operation America Cares.