Operation Interdependence provides a unique and efficient Civilian-to-Military Delivery System(R)delivering care from civilians at home in the form of C-rats, individual baggies each containing a personal note and some goodies from home that they miss. OI volunteers pack and ship 25 care packages per large flat rate box, enough for an entire platoon with no one left out. Enough boxes are sent so that at mail call everyone in the unit gets a package. For many, it's the only communication from home they receive. For the civilians at home OI provides a means to communicate their support to the troops efficiently, working with the military delivery system, so the public has a means to communicate their thoughts and well wishes to those deployed overseas on their behalf. Our secondary mission to help the families left and home and our veteran's.
Founded by a retired Marine in San Diego who saw how bogged down the military mail system was. He devised a way to send to commanders in boxes of 25 comfort bags, each enough for everyone in the unit. Leaving out no one. For many it is the only communication they receive from home. Many of the deployed being 17 to 20 years of age and put into positions that should belong to more senior people. These packages are important to help build their morale, and help them through hard times. Several have told us how important the gifts and more so the notes from home are to them all.
- One volunteer works at Disneyland and receives volunteer hours plus a grant for funds.
- Volunteers attend conventions around the nation as well as in state for products such as snacks, sweets, and non-food items.
- Grant money donated from companies around the nation
- We also receive packages from two law offices in Chicago and Washington DC. and caring citizens around the nation.
- Women's Magazine article asking for "drink mixes" "tuna packs" and "Slim Jim's" for the troops have garnered boxes from all over the nation with as many as 500 packages to a box, as well as thousands of packs of instant oatmeal.
- Lockheed Martin in California and Colorado will be packing and giving OI a grant this year a well
- 20,000 notes a month are needed so each civilian ration has a letter of support from a stranger.
- Volunteers are always needed to hold events, collect products and most of all pack baggies several times a month.
- Hygiene such as travel size items are always needed as well as eye drops, and in the winter handwarmers. However, mouthwash and hand/body wipes aren't allowed because of what could be in them
- Also needed are food products, including drink mixes, snack bars, cookies etc. We don't send books however, local magazines and newspaper comics are sent as well as handheld games and small balls (nerf) are always welcome.
- And most important are the funds that range up to $9,000 a month for the postage, tape, paper for our postage labels and ink for printing.
Our organization is different from most in the way we ship, allowing more troops to receive packages from home every month. Even though we are a national organization each unit stands alone to collect products, letters, and most of their postage funds. Yet when invited to conventions where lots of funds and/or products are donated we share with the units that need them most. We all work together for one cause, Supporting our deployed around the world. All volunteers do so because of their love for our military and country. OI is 100% volunteer no one receive a salary. When we need items not donated we purchase with our own money
Board Chair Statement
As president all the units are important to me, and at times can be a challenge from needing products, funds, or buildings to work from. Most days I spend up to 12 hours a day 7 days a week, including many hours on the computer making sure all units are running smooth or helping with their problems. Looking for conventions to attend, and ways to raise funds and products. When I started with OI it was to write notes, nearly 10 years ago. I was shortly asked along with my, now deceased husband to take over as Colorado State Manager, and placed on the board of directors. About 6 years ago was asked to take over as the current president had to resign for personal reasons. I said, only until you can find someone to take my place. Here I am 6 years later still president as the board and volunteers are happy with what I do; and have the time to do what is required. 90% of the volunteers work full time jobs and I'm retired. I enjoy what I do and look forward to continuing with OI for as many years as I can in anyway I can. I come from a military family dating back to WW1 and through the present time with two granddaughters in the service. Our military is my passion and given the chance I will talk about OI to anyone and everyone that will listen; getting many to help out even if one time or becoming involved on a monthly basis. Some even become so involved they become managers in other areas/states.
Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer
People can donate by sending a check, donate on our website, at events donate cash, and also provide in-kind donations. All citizens are welcome to volunteer from writing notes, collecting products, holding an event for products or funds, help pack civilian rations