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.
Several 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 harms way. To date we’ve packed and sent almost a million care packages! 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. 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.
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. 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. You can find his company here.
This paypal button links directly to Operation Gratitude’s account so any money you donate will go directly to them.
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Some people have inquired about wanting to purchase one of my scarves. I am very happy to do this in exchange for a donation of at least $30 to Operation Gratitude (this donation will ship two care packages). Be warned that I only know one crochet pattern so my scarves are pretty basic but if you still want one, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
1. Proof of your donation to Operation Gratitude
2. Your 1st and 2nd choice of color (just in case I can’t find the first color)
3. Whether or not you would like fringe or no fringe
4. The address where you would like the scarf shipped
I will pay for the yarn and shipping out of my own pocket to ensure that every dime goes to Operation Gratitude so please feel free to be generous. 100% of OpGrat donations go to shipping costs. No one is paid and everything that goes into the packages is donated. It’s one of the reasons I’ve chosen it as my charity of choice and why I have such great respect for the organization and its founder, Carolyn Blashek.