The Calabasas Chapter has become involved with Operation Gratitude in making scarf’s in the winter and cool ties in the summer months for the troups overseas.  Its a great way to use up leftover scraps of yarn from making Binkies!   This is in no way political or showing support for the war, it is in support of the 19 & 20 year olds all over the world that are so far from home!

Dear Knitters and Crocheters,
I am so pleased to announce that we put approximately 3,000 scarves and hats into care packages this past weekend!  They are now on their way overseas to our troops and will arrive just as the temperatures go down and the holidays start up!!  
And more good news–we’ve already accumulated hundreds more that we’re readying to send out on the next assembling day, November 15th!
If you’re thinking that with so many scarves and hats we won’t need anymore—WRONG!  Operation Gratitude sent a total of 15,000 care packages over the weekend, so we still have a long way to go to reach our goal of placing a scarf or hat into each box!  Please keep on knitting and crocheting, and I will be happy to be bombarded by UPS and Post Office deliveries in the next few weeks!  🙂
The scarves we’ve received are absolutely gorgeous–many different colors, yarns, textures, each one unique and interesting.  Just a quick word about size, though—while the shortest scarf I received was only about 25"? (barely covering a large man’s neck), the longest was (really!) 100"?!!  One of our expert knitters is going to TRY to cut it in half and make two scarves out of it!  I must again emphasize the size restrictions we have, as the boxes are not huge and we place the scarves on top of about 50 other items.  If the scarf is over-sized it may not fit into the box–and it would break my heart to have to turn away anything made by our faithful volunteers!  So please keep them around 5-7"? wide and between 42-48"? long!  If yours are already made–and over-sized–please send them anyway and we will do our best to squeeze them into a box (one of our ladies can shrink-wrap, which will be helpful).  The hats, of course, are no problem as they take up so little space—but please test them on someone’s head to make sure they’re an appropriate size!
My plan is to put a note inside each hand-made item we send, so if you have the time and inclination to write something short and simple with each scarf or hat it would be very much appreciated.  If you include a mailing or e-mail address that is even more helpful, as some recipients may want to respond!  If you’re uncomfortable with this please feel free to use my e-mail address instead.
I would love to have all items received at my house or the armory by Thanksgiving weekend, if possible!  We’ll be shipping out a few thousand boxes over those two days, then will wrap it all up two weeks later on December 14th.  Any items received after that date will be safely stored until our 2009 Holiday Drive.  
I am always amazed at the generosity and devotion of our volunteers—and others who just anonymously drop off scarves and hats at the armory, leaving us no one to thank!  If you (or someone you know) are one of those people please let me know so we can acknowledge all your hard work.
For those sending to the armory, the address is:
Operation Gratitude
National Guard Armory
17330 Victory Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA  91406
Attention: Sharon Howard
If sending to me, here’s my address:
Rhonda Green
13610 Valley Vista Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA  91423
And lastly, there is always a need for funds to mail these care packages at $10 a piece.  If you can support us with a donation for a box or two or three, please send to:
Operation Gratitude
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA  91436
I would love to hear from you as to how your projects are coming along or if you have any questions.  Thank you for your beautiful expressions of love and appreciation for our brave men and women who will be so far away from home over the holidays.
With love and gratitude,
P.S.  I just want to add a portion of a moving letter we received from one grateful soldier:
"Each day we receive the outpouring of love from our families, friends, loved one, and even strangers at home.  AMERICANS!!!!  Though they may never understand us, they realize what we hold so sacred that we would easily lay down our lives to defend.  That is FREEDOM!!  A freedom that no other nation understands, because they have never struggled in the manner we have to preserve it.  Each of you may rest peacefully at night as long as there is a breath left in our bodies, because we will ensure your safety and your security at all cost.  We do not do this for your praise (though it is greatly appreciated) or your admiration, or to make you feel indebted to us.  We do it because it is the right thing to do.  We do it out of dedication to our God, Corps, and Country.  You are the heroes that we strive to protect.  May God bless you.  I will close by saying thank you for the outpouring of love and care from your heart.  We are here to proudly serve.
 Sergeant Major Laurence H."

My 15 year old son and I volunteered this past Sunday and I was able to bring in 134 scarf’s from our chapter that the ladies had made just this year (I’m the one in the middle of the first picture wearing my infamous baseball hat, Yikes!).
I’ve attached an email from the lady that is heading up this part of Operation Gratitude with her email and mailing information.
Rhonda Green
West Valley Binky Patrol Coordinator
"Creating Comfort Covers, Because I Care"