Veteran's Day is approaching and as we take time to thank all the men and women who have defended our freedom, we wanted to take a minute to talk about something that we don't always mention, but are so proud to be a part of - ONA.
Operation Not Alone (ONA) was founded on January 22nd, 2013 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where ONA founder, Susan Fochs, daughter of Barb Fochs - our wonderful production team lead, was a freshman in college. It started as an effort to send care packages to active duty service members serving overseas. Since then it has sent care packages to military members serving around the world, and cheer packages to veterans across the United States.
In 2015, ONA implemented the Never Alone Nursing Home Visits to visit veterans over the holiday season. They deliver blankets decorated with their branch of service and personalized with their name. The holidays can be a particularly lonely time for our veterans and they want to remind our heroes that at any age, they are never alone and will never be forgotten. Then, in 2017, Operation Not Alone officially relocated to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin where it is currently headquartered.
2018 saw major changes both in branding and structure of the organization. Operation Not Alone re-vamped its mission and vision, expanded its board to include a Vice President, expanded operations to the state of New York, and added to its services. Based in both Wisconsin and New York, Operation Not Alone has the ability to reach veterans and military personnel more effectively than ever before.
In 2018, an earn-a-patch program for the Girl Scouts of the USA was integrated, where Girl Scouts in grades K-12 learn about the mission of Operation Not Alone and what it means to thank our veterans and military service personnel. Another new service included a wide range of “Who Is Your Hero?” presentations for K-12 classrooms, colleges, corporate offices, and other youth organizations.
Since its inception, Operation Not Alone has sent over 750+ care packages to active duty military personnel in 7 different countries. In that time, Operation Not Alone has sent 3,000+ cheer packages to veterans in 33 different states. These numbers continue to grow as Operation Not Alone expands.
Fochs said her favorite part of it all is getting to meet the active duty members and veterans. "Getting to hear their stories and shake their hands is unbeatable when it comes to non-profit work." And we couldn't agree more. This non-profit is so near and dear to our hearts, and we are so proud to get to be a part of something like this.
In the care packages you can find full-pot bags of Heroes Blend non-flavored coffee, along with blankets, hygiene items and many more items to make our heroes feel a little more at home, wherever they are. Since the creation of Heroes Blend, there have been 20,000+ full-pot bags given to ONA and 17,000+ sold on our own website and in our retail store! The ONA care packages are something we are so honored and proud to be able to help support, and we couldn't do it without all of you. 10% of every 6-pack purchase of Heroes Blend goes back to ONA.