This Pelham Bay church is showing its gratitude.
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish recently participated in Operation Gratitude, a nationwide program that annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individual service members deployed in hostile regions, to their children, Wounded Warriors, veterans and First Responders.
Msgr. Anthony Marchitelli, the church’s pastor, called it “an attempt to send a kind of hello or ‘we’re thinking of you,’ to the people overseas.”
“It’s kind of contradictory because it was tooth brushes and toothpaste that we collected but also left-over Halloween candy.”
Marchitelli said the parish collected 33 boxes filled with candy to be sent to military personnel.
“We collected most of the candy from our Veteran’s Day masses and our Confraternity of Christian Doctrine programs at our school,” Marchitelli said. “We also collected letters of support and gratitude. We then sorted the candy into chocolate and other types of candy and then we boxed it up and we are going to be mailing the boxes out within the coming week.”
After the parish packages the candy and ships it to the organization, Operation Gratitude assembles the care packages.
Each package contains donated products valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship.
For safety and security, packages are finally assembled at an Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California.
Since its start in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 815,000 packages to American military members.
Marchitelli said he thinks the church’s participation, for the first time, was a success.
“I think it turned out very well,” he said. “One of the things we tend to forget is that most serving overseas are kids. A couple of years ago they were sitting in a classroom.
“Everybody likes something from home and to be told ‘we’re thinking about you and we’re supporting you’ so it’s got to be a boost to morale. They are basically just good people, they are there trying to do a job and promote our own freedoms and also freedoms of the people where they are.”
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394