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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It takes a village! Operation: Military Matters

Operation: Military Matters volunteers packing care 
packages to send to the military

Recently my daughter Graci (11) and her friend Ava (11) had a packing party for their nonprofit Operation: Military Matters. This is a project the girls started when they were 9 years old. They send care packages to the military overseas. This is the second packing party they have had since they started the project. During the year, they usually send a few packages out a month, but at a packing party they save up donations invite  family and friends and pack a large number of boxes.

39 care packages ready to ship all over the world.
This time they had enough donations for 39 care packages. Since starting they have shipped close to 200 packages all around the world. It's amazing to me to see how two young kids are making a difference in the lives of so many.

Thank you cards!
What is wonderful is they are inspiring other young kids to get involved with helping them by making thank you cards and by helping pack boxes when they have packing parties. The girls had kids from a school all the way down in Miami make cards to put in the care packages.

Friends, family and the community have all helped make this project successful. Because this project has grown from a school project into a nonprofit,  it takes more people and time to make it work. The girls have to collect donations, buy supplies to pack the donations, raise funds for shipping, pack the boxes and ship the boxes.

Clay hearts made for our military.
Donations have come in continuously to fill the boxes and funding to pay to ship the packages has also come in. Each box costs $17.35 to ship, so shipping the 39 boxes was almost $700. It can get costly. We were fortunate to have a grant from Royal Neighbors of America and their Difference Makers Fund along with money from the VFW Post #9272 and money friends and family.

Graci with a certificate and flag flown
in Southwest Asia
in honor of the efforts of Operation:
Military Mattes. 
The girls know how much these boxes are appreciated by our military. Recently the girls received a letter from an Amy Captain serving in Southwest Asia. He wrote how thankful he and his troops were for the support and care packages. He said, "Keep up the great work and know that during deployments, any day that a Soldier gets mail is a great day!" He also sent the girls each a United States flag flown over their patriot missile battery site in honor of the girls support for the soldiers. The girls were so touched by this when they received the letter and flags. It had an impact not only on the girls, but those we have shared the letter with. The letter is to everyone who has helped along the way with this project. 

What can you do? You can write thank you cards to put in the boxes, donate supplies like  toiletry items, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, snacks, hard candy, wipes, games, instant coffee, creamer, romen noodles, beef jerky, tuna or salmon packs, tea gallon zip lock bags, hand lotion, trail mix, socks etc. There is always a need for money to help ship the boxes.
If your service organization would like to contribute, Graci and Ava would be happy to come and speak to your club or if you have a friend or family member you would like a care package sent to, email Graci and Ava at Operation: Military Matters is a 501 (c)3. To find out more about what they do go to their Facebook page at A special thank you to everyone who has helped with this project or plans on helping. It takes a village!

Ava Spano and Graci Tubbs both 11 are the founders of
Operation: Military Maters


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