From a City of Mill Creek news release.
October 9, 2018, update.
We have enough books for Operation Paperback (thousands in just a week!), but could use funds to ship books.
We are still collecting items for Operation Gratitude.
Original October 1, 2018, article.
The City of Mill Creek is supporting members of the U.S. armed forces and their families through two collection drives now underway: Operation Gratitude and Operation Paperback.
The collection drives are now underway through November 2, 2018.
“Each year, as we gear up for Veterans Day, we provide an opportunity for the community to give back to the members of our military and their families,” said Kristen Rasmussen, community engagement coordinator. “This is a great service opportunity for local families or groups.”
The City of Mill Creek is continuing to collect items for Operation Gratitude, which distributes more than 200,000 care packages each year filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and handmade items, along with personal letters of appreciation to U.S. service members and their families.
Operation Gratitude wish-list items include: all-purpose wipes, batteries (AA and/or AAA sizes), drink mix in individual serving packets, gum, hand warmers, jerky in individual bags, lip balm, pencils (mechanical preferred), playing cards, small puzzle books, socks, six-inch or small plush toys, knit or crocheted scarves and hats, and cool ties. The list also includes travel-sized versions of deodorant, powder, sewing kits and sunscreen.
Mill Creek’s Youth Advisory Board members also will create and send hundreds of paracord survival bracelets for troops through Operation Gratitude. 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. From a simple bracelet, 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.
This year, the city has added a new item to the drive – new or gently used books.
“We are collecting books for Operation Paperback because books help military families in a couple ways,” said Rasmussen.
She went on to say, “The books can be enjoyed by service members on their own time, or they can read books to their kids through mobile technology like Skype or Facetime and have another way to connect with their families.”
Operation Paperback is a national non-profit organization whose volunteers collect gently-used books and send them to American troops overseas, as well as veterans and military families here at home. Since 1999, the organization has shipped more than 2.2 million books to America’s military community.
Youth Advisory Board members also plan to collect any books available following the Mill Creek Garage Sale on October 6th.
Donations for both drives can be dropped off at the following locations:
- City Hall South, 15728 Main Street.
- Heatherwood Middle School, 1419 Trillium Blvd. SE.
- Jackson High School, 1508 136th Street SE.
- Mill Creek Elementary, 2400 148th Street SE.
- University Bookstore (for paperback books only), 15311 Main Street.
Other locations will be listed on the City’s website at www.millcreektourism.com/operationgratitude as they are confirmed.
City staff and volunteers will package and ship the donated items in November. The City also requests donations from local non-profits groups to cover the cost of shipping the boxes, particularly the books which can be heavy boxes.