Bear Hug A U.S. Soldier for Memorial Day

Jan 17, 2008: For immediate Release: January 17, 2008 – San Jose, CA.

Operation: Care and Comfort, an all volunteer military care package program, is teaming with Operation Gratitude, to ship 210,000 special “Bear Hug” gifts to U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan for Memorial Day. This online campaign, dubbed “Bear Hug a U.S. Soldier”, is kicking off today, and for $1, you can help send a specially packaged bear to our troops. An additional 90,000 “Bear Hugs” will be distributed to patients in Veterans hospitals throughout the United States. David Hamblett, a retired east coast businessman, developed and financed this campaign. Dave’s goal is two fold - to get a “Bear Hug” into the hands of every service member in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to raise $1M for Operation: Care and Comfort and Operation Gratitude.

Operation: Care and Comfort's unique program invites members of the community to use their time, talents, and treasure to show our Troops serving in harm’s way that they are not forgotten. "Our program's strength is in the fantastic volunteers who have come forward to help in all areas, including fund raising, product donation drives, letter writing campaigns, etc. We are included in the Department of Defense America Supports You program, so folks all over the country contact us with questions regarding supporting our Troops" said Julie DeMaria, co founder of Operation: Care and Comfort.

“Through the efforts of so many great citizens like Dave, we have sent care and comfort to tens of thousands troops who volunteer to serve our country. Sending this special “Bear Hug” is just another way folks can say THANK YOU for your service!”

With the help of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Post Office and volunteers, Operation: Care and Comfort will package and mail 140,000 “Bear Hugs” on Saturday, April 5th in San Jose, CA. Information including campaign details, product specifications, and donation information is available at

About Operation: Care and Comfort
Since April 2003, the all-volunteer Operation: Care and Comfort program, unique to the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, has shipped 350,000 pounds of care packages for distribution to Marine, Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard personnel deployed in conflict regions. Adopted military units receive care packages monthly, until they return home. Operation: Care and Comfort is a member of the Department of Defense “America Supports You” program. For more information on how you can support this worthy program, please visit:

About American Red Cross Santa Clara Valley Chapter
The American Red Cross Santa Clara Valley Chapter is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that depends on the generous contributions of time and money from Santa Clara Valley residents and companies to help the community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. For more information on disaster preparedness, health and safety classes, volunteer opportunities, and financial contributions, visit

About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude ( is the 501 (c) (3), all-volunteer organization that sends care packages of items and letters addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile overseas regions. Its mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and to express to all troops the appreciation and support of the American people. Since its inception in March, 2003, Operation Gratitude has shipped more than 315,000 packages to American troops deployed overseas.

About America Supports You
“America Supports You," a nationwide program launched by the Department of Defense in 2004, recognizes citizens' support for our military men and women and communicates that support to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. America Supports You spotlights what Americans are doing all across the land, encourages others to join the team, and allows all to tell their stories by giving voice and visibility to their efforts. For More information on the program, please visit

Press Contacts:

Operation: Care and Comfort - Julie DeMaria
(408) 373-8635 or

Operation Gratitude – Carolyn Blashek
(818) 909-0039 or

David Hamblett
(607) 222-2600 or