Military News Military Branches Navy

Army-Navy fans packed 2,000 care packages with Operation Gratitude

Miguel Ortiz Avatar

The overarching mission is to express deep appreciation for those who step forward to serve and sacrifice on our behalf (Operation Gratitude)

The Army-Navy Game is a deep rivalry between the sister services. However, Operation Gratitude, USAA and PHL Sports collaborated to bring fans of both sides together for a common purpose: packing 2,000 care packages to send to deployed service members.

operation gratitude at white house
President & CEO James Johnson with First Lady Jill Biden during a packing event at the White House (Operation Gratitude)

On December 9, 2022, the day before the game, 100 Army-Navy volunteered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Grand Hall to assemble a total of 2,000 care packages: 1,000 for the Army and 1,000 for the Navy. The event was an opportunity for Army-Navy fans to express their gratitude for deployed service members.

care packages for troops
Care packages give deployed troops a taste of home (Operation Gratitude)

In March 2003, Operation Gratitude sent its first four care packages to troops Iraq. Since then, the nonprofit organization has expanded across the country. Millions of volunteers have packed and sent care packages to over 3.5 million deployed service members, recruit graduates, veterans, military families, first responders and healthcare workers. Today, Operation Gratitude sends up to 200,000 care packages year and aims to grow that number to over 1 million by 2027.

operation gratitude volunteers
100 volunteers packed 2,000 care packages the day before the Army-Navy Game (WATM/Miguel Ortiz)

The Army-Navy event took just an hour and a half to pack all 2,000 care packages. Operation Gratitude notes that the care packages will be delivered to troops stationed in the Middle East and South Korea. “It was a privilege to partner with USAA, the sponsor of the 2,000 care packages that we sent to troops deployed overseas,” said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James Johnson, Operation Gratitude’s President and CEO, in a media release. “I believe the volunteers, who joined us, know that America will always require brave men and women to raise their hand to serve, and those men and women will always need to know what they do matters.”

Operation Gratitude’s care packages provide deployed service members with a piece of home to receive during mail call. To that end, the care packages contain snacks, personal care and hygiene products, and handmade items including hand-written letters from grateful Americans across the country. To get involved with Operation Gratitude, check out their website to learn how you can donate money, items and time to this worthy cause.