City of Mill Creek Gives Back to Military Community through Operation Gratitude

City of Mill Creek Gives Back to Military Community through Operation Gratitude
Posted on 10/03/2017

The City of Mill Creek is giving back to U.S. service members and partnering with Operation Gratitude to encourage residents to honor deployed troops and their families waiting at home.

As part of this national program that seeks to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the military, the City is hosting a collection drive to assemble care packages for service members and wounded warriors. Last year alone, the City gathered nearly 250 pounds in donated items.

“As we approach Veterans Day, this is a great opportunity for our residents and community members to make an impact on the lives of those who sacrifice so much,” said Joni Kirk, director of communications and marketing. “This is a simple way to say ‘thank you' to our veterans and let them know how much we appreciate their service.”

Now through Nov. 1, care package item donations can be dropped off at Mill Creek City Hall at 15728 Main St. in Mill Creek, or Heatherwood Middle School at 1419 Trillium Blvd SE in Mill Creek. Other locations will be added and posted on the event website:

Care package item suggestions include:

  • Blank greeting cards
  • CDs, DVDs and iPods
  • Cell phones
  • Easter or Halloween candy
  • Flash drives
  • Foot powder (travel size)
  • Gift cards to chain stores, such as Walmart, Target etc.
  • Hand/foot warmers
  • Headphones
  • Individual packets of moist wipes
  • Knit hats and scarves
  • Lip balm
  • Mini battery-powered fans
  • Personal care products
  • Roll-on deodorant
  • Razors
  • Small plush toys such as Beanie Babies, Trolls, etc.
  • Snacks, such as energy bars, beef jerky, trail mix, nuts, sunflower seeds, Girl Scout cookies, candy, or ready-to-eat tuna or chicken salad kits\
  • Single-serving powdered beverage mixes
  • Single-serving boxes of cold or hot cereal
  • Socks (black, brown, green, or tan – not white)
  • Ties
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Video games
  • Webcams
  • Yarn

City staff will package the donated items after the drive and send them in boxes to the Operation Gratitude headquarters in Chatsworth, Calif., by Friday, November 10. Each box costs $15 to mail. The City is requesting donations from local non-profits groups to cover the cost of mailing the boxes.

Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000 care packages filled with food, entertainment, hygiene, and handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to Veterans, Wounded Heroes and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. The program's mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation.

“Our Operation Gratitude efforts this year are not limited to gift items,” said Kirk. “We also are working to provide a special item that can literally save the life of a service member.”

The City's Youth Advisory Board members are creating hundreds of paracord survival bracelets, which will be sent to troops. Each bracelet can be unraveled in an emergency to provide the owner with 7.5 feet of 550 military strength paracord rope, which also has a capacity to hold 550 pounds. With 7.5 feet of rope an experienced owner can perform many lifesaving techniques; which include making a makeshift shelter, hauling heavy objects, creating a harness for extracting an injured person or making a splint. Other uses from dissecting the rope into smaller strands include; thread for sewing gear, emergency suture thread to close a wound, as fishing line or a trip line to secure an area.