Part of being a socially responsible nerd is giving back to the community. I’m big on helping people, whether it’s defending someone who’s being picked on or giving food to the less fortunate. This is, of course, a recurring theme in my favorite sci-fi franchise, Star Trek…working towards the betterment of mankind.
While we’re not to the point of getting rid of currency quite yet, there are many ways that we can help out our fellow homo sapiens.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I come from a long line of military personnel, dating all the way back to the Civil War. I’m extremely proud of this. My brother and cousin are currently active in the US military and have both been deployed overseas. Looking for ways to do my part, about 4 years ago I became involved in an amazing organization called Operation Gratitude. We pack care packages and mail them around the world to those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marine’s that are in harm’s way. It’s a small but powerful way to say Thank You for risking your lives to protect ours. For many of these men and women it will be the only package or piece of mail they receive. The thank you letters we get back from them will break your heart.
A few years ago I was lucky enough to pack the 350,000th package. This past weekend we packed our 600,000th. That is no small feat my fellow nerds and nerdettes. Every single item in every package is donated and every volunteer works for free so every single penny raised goes towards shipping costs. When I started volunteering the cost to ship a package was $10, today it costs $15.
So, in the spirit of the holiday season, I’m opening the donation page back up for anyone who would like to donate to Operation Gratitude. It will stay up at the top of the blog indefinitely. All of it will go directly to the organization. If you don’t have money but you still want to help, there are many ways to do so. I also crochet scarves that go into every package. Collecting those old beanie babies everyone had but no longer wants is great too. Hand written letters are always needed. Or you could come and stare at my boobs the whole time like the guy in the Marvel Comics t-shirt did. Veteran’s need love too, so there are various ways to help them out as well. Go to the “Get Involved” section of the Operation Gratitude website for a ton of great ideas.
You can also buy products from those who donate a percentage of their profits to Operation Gratitude. There is a list of them here.
My favorite of which is my friend Hayden’s company, Active Country (you’ve seen Hayden on here a few times, he’s kick ass). He donates 5% of all his profits to Operation Gratitude and presented them with a check this past Saturday. You can find his company here.
If Operation Gratitude isn’t your thing, find some other way to give back. Something you feel passionate about. Pay it forward!
Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now 🙂
Here are some pictures from this past Saturday: