Chatsworth’s Operation Gratitude opens its doors for hurricane victims

Kathleen Zamora | The Valley Star

Chatsworth’s Operation Gratitude sent pallets of disaster relief supplies to Military and First Responder contacts in the hurricane impact zones for distribution to hurricane victims.

by Kathleen Zamora, Staff Writer

In light of recent national disasters, Chatsworth’s Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit organization that was made in effort so that American’s can say “thank you” to servicemen in form of care packages and support letters, opened its doors for donations to those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The organization sends care packages to the U.S Military (Deployed Troops, Veterans, First Responders) and had sent Pallets of Disaster Relief supplies including nonperishable foods, multiple types of clothing, entertainment items, morale lifts, hygiene items, gift cards and miscellaneous items such as: sunscreen, diapers, baby wipes, boots, work gloves, flash lights and batteries of all kinds.

The boxes are packed through an assembly-line process with several stations. The stations for care packages include: magazines, first-aid kits, toothbrushes/toothpaste, body wash, energy drinks and more. There are also volunteer areas to make paracord bracelets which are used by Troops and First Responders for survival purposes in emergencies.

Members grab pre-labeled boxes and walk down the assembly line to place specific items in each box. In four hours, about 7,500 packages are stuffed and ready to go. When the organization runs out of supplies, they take a break and restock for their next donation event. It takes from 3 to 4 weeks for those in need to receive the packages.

Operation Gratitude welcomes civilians, ages 12 and up, to volunteer to sort and pack the boxes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is recommended that those who volunteer wear comfortable clothing (it gets hot in the warehouse) and closed-toe shoes for safety. Volunteers are welcomed for fifteen minutes to five hours. Civilians may also donate funds to assist with shipping expenses.

The Disaster Relief collection efforts have now concluded and the last of these supplies are being shipped out this week. Operation Gratitude is now back to sending care packages to Deployed Troops, Veterans and First Responders, especially those who assisted in the disaster relief efforts in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

“A million thanks to everyone who worked in the 113 degree heat…to receive, process, sort, and package the outpouring of donations from the most generous people on earth: Americans,” said Carolyn Blashek, Founder and CEO. “Challenging times bring out the best, and all of us at Operation Gratitude were humbled and honored to see that on display.”

Operation Gratitude holds an assembly one weekend day each month at its facility, 21100 Lassen Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311. For more information: www.operationgratitude.com.

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