VAN NUYS, Calif.—More than 700 volunteers gathered on Nov. 15 at the California Army National Guard Armory to create more than 8,000 care packages to ship to U.S. troops overseas.
The event was one of Operation Gratitude’s Holiday Drive Assembly Days. Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit organization that sends more than 100,000 care packages each year to individually named U.S. service members. The organization assembles packages during two drives each year–the Patriotic Drive, held May through June, and the Holiday Drive, held October through December–and ships packages year round.
Buckhorn, a manufacturer of reusable plastic containers and pallets, was a corporate sponsor of the Nov. 15 event and played a key role in creating the care packages.
With more than 100 corporate sponsors contributing a wide range of items, logistics and protection became a problem. Cardboard boxes did not hold up to moisture and other contaminants and removal of truckloads of cardboard waste was difficult.
To help solve those problems, Buckhorn donated more than 100 plastic, collapsible bulk containers and attached-lid containers. The heavy-duty plastic containers replaced the cardboard boxes and helped protect the donated products.
On the Holiday Assembly Day, Buckhorn’s 4845 collapsible bulk containers and attached-lid containers were used by volunteers to create an assembly line for the care packages. The containers were filled with various products, which were then picked and placed into Operation Gratitude shipping boxes from the U.S Postal Service and shipped via USPS priority mail.
Care packages include a wide variety of items, including clothing, toiletries, batteries, CDs, snack foods and energy drinks, as well as cards and letters from family members, friends and other caring individuals.
“I was honestly amazed by the logistical precision in which they operate,” said Kirk Pinto, district sales manager from Buckhorn, who attended the event. “When I arrived, I was approached by several of the volunteers who wanted to share with me just how much of a difference our containers have made to the program. With better organization of the assembly line, they were achieving great results–more than 16 packages per minute, 960 per hour, over an eight-hour period. There are major manufacturing operations that don’t show that kind of throughput!”