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Operation Gratitude makes care packages for deployed US troops

June 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of volunteers came together in Van Nuys on Saturday for Operation Gratitude, a non-profit that puts together hundreds of thousands of care packages for military members every Independence Day as a thank you for their service.

"Two weeks ago we hit our 800,000th package and now we're on our march to a million," said Carolyn Blashek, who founded Operation Gratitude in 2003.

"Very quickly (it) evolved into an American effort and a voluntarism effort that every American around the country can participate and find a way through Operation Gratitude to say thank you to their military," she said.

The individual care packages are filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation for service members deployed in hostile regions.

Among the dozens of Eyewitness News volunteers were Michelle Tuzee, Alysha Del Valle, Curt Sandoval, Leticia Juarez, Jovana Lara, Dave Kunz, Elex Michaelson and John Hartung.

"They just think it's wonderful. They love the letters from the kids, they put them in their hats or carry them with them," said volunteer Lily Bauer.