Members of the Rams organization spent their monthly Staff Day of Service at "Operation Gratitude," assembling care packages for domestic first responders and military personnel overseas.
On Thursday July 13th, members of the Rams' organization spent their monthly Staff Day of Service at "Operation Gratitude," assembling care packages for domestic first responders and military personnel overseas. Operation Gratitude is a non-profit, volunteer-based corporation funded entirely by private donations which allows the organization to send over 200,000 care packages annually. Amongst the recipients are veterans, first responders, wounded heroes, care givers and individual service members. The care packages are filled with food, forms of entertainment, hygienic supplies, handmade items and personal letters of appreciation to members of the U.S. military.
Operation Gratitude's VP of Operations Angel Cuevas and Recipient Outreach Manager Giovanni F. Perez, military veterans who previously had been the recipients of these same care packages, now dedicate themselves to lifting the spirits of service men and women while trying to meet their ever-evolving needs. Both Cuevas and Perez have fond recollections of receiving their care packages and believe the acts of kindness lifted their platoon members immeasurably.
"The Marines were very touched by everything they received," said Cuevas. "For an organization like Operation Gratitude to be able to touch and influence the lives of people who, for whatever reason, just don't have anyone to contact back home, speaks volumes to their morale and their fortitude. It's very meaningful."
The Rams Community Affairs and Engagement Coordinator David Weingarten considers the team's efforts not to be acts of giving, but rather, acts of reciprocity.
"We decided to work with Operation Gratitude because it continues to build upon our commitment to those that serve our country," said Weingarten. "It's a local organization making an impact on American servicemen and women across the globe. This was one small way for us to act on our values and give back to the men and women of the armed forces."
The team donated 10,000 Rams cards utilized for letters of appreciation. Volunteers or guests going forward may write their own personal message to a service member inside a Rams fold-out card that includes a statement on the back saying, "The Los Angeles Rams are proud to support our military as well as the family and friends of those who serve our country."
Perez, who grew up supporting the Rams, believes the team's support will be instrumental to the organization's impact. Additionally, he knows Rams fans serving our country overseas will be honored that their favorite team acknowledges their efforts and sacrifices.
"The ability to have a message sent out through the Rams saying, 'We care about you and we're thinking about you,' is definitely going to boost their morale," said Perez. "I know I couldn't wait to get home and watch a game. Just knowing the Rams have my back and that they take that time, that's what it comes down to. We remember everything. It stays in our mind and we stay committed to those that take care of us just like we stay committed to our careers in service. Being able to go on the Rams website and show people that we're giving back, it's always going to touch a base and it's going to grow and we will gain respect and give it back."
For more information regarding donations, volunteering, requesting a care package or becoming a sponsor for Operation Gratitude, please visit http://www.operationgratitude.com/operation-gratitude/