Adopt a Troop: The Operation Shoebox story

I’m a huge fan of helping others when I can. I donate free marketing advice, but honestly, most people in need don’t need marketing- they need action. So on a recent trip to take my dog to the vet, I came across a flyer in their office for Operation Shoebox and was intrigued.

For those who aren’t familiar with the organization, Operation Shoebox sends care packages and gifts to active troops to spread good vibes and provide essentials that are on short supply. You can either make a one time donation that will go to an anonymous troop (a troop is a soldier in this case), or you can adopt a troop for the duration of their tour. The timing is perfect, with the holidays right around the corner and for me personally, being in a place where I’m trying to find a good fit in all things (professional, personal, charitable).

In addition to working with a group of local (and national) internet marketers, bloggers, and social media peeps to put together packages for 50 troops, I’ve adopted three soldiers of my own to support. Lucky for me, I’ve met some amazing people throughout my online marketing journey who are willing to lend support and sponsorship. While the deadline is still a few weeks away, I’ve already gotten word from the following amazing companies that they’d like to be involved:

  • XShot (particularly Michael): Before I could even finish the please on my sentence, Michael jumped on board with a wonderful gift- 50 XShots for our troops! For those not in the know, XShots are extendable camera attachments for both digital and video cams that allow you to record and take photos of yourself. For those with horrible self-portrait skills like me, or with short arms like…well, me too, these things are GREAT and easy to use. You can pick one up here (NOT an affiliate link, just lots of love):


  • Pingo (thanks to Brian): An inconvenient expense for our soldiers is communication. While they have access to the Internet, wouldn’t you rather hear your loved one’s voice sometimes? Pingo is making that possible with a donation of 200 (yes, TWO HUNDRED) international calling cards for our troops to use. They also have great deals if you want to pick up a card for your upcoming travels, or to donate in addition for Operation Shoebox. Thank you again to Brian Hawkins and the friendly crew!


  • family: As if they haven’t done enough for me, Drew, Allison, and Eva Bennett are bringing smiles on a daily basis. In addition to providing some essential social media insights and entertaining blog posts, the Bennett family has become part of my own family with their warmth, love, support, and kindness. Their kid is pretty darn cute, too (the only one with her own hashtag, #Evaboo)! Drew and Allison are so modest, the site is run by Drew and should really be renamed as he is one of the top bloggers in the industry. Allison also covers her journeys and lends her social media and blogging talents to, as well as being a tradeshow spokesmodel for and IZEA. Thanks for essentials for the troops, guys!


  • ChattyGal: Deb Schroeder is a force to be reckoned with. She stormed onto the blogging scene this year, kicking !@# and taking names in a video contest for a trip to Blogworld. ChattyGal covers everything from health and beauty to tech tools, all in a fun, conversational manner. ChattyGal’s friendly demeanor has also won the hearts of sponsors who have added some much needed supplies to our care packages. Thanks to ChattyGal Deb, and Tim- who runs an insanely educational blog and design forum, by the way!


  • Quaker/ Gatorade: I know absolutely no one personally at Quaker, but they have hundreds of delicious products that are convenient for shipping purposes, staying fresh for the journey overseas. I sent an email with little to no hope of getting a positive response (most companies are cutting back on all donations), but got an almost immediate answer- and it was wonderful news! Quaker is donating several Gatorade vouchers for troops to use at their retail stations. Not only did this make it easier for our packagers (bottles aren’t too compact), but it will be a relief for our soldiers as well- now they can choose their flavors and product type. Thank you again to the team at Quaker and Gatorade for the ridiculously fast, extremely supportive feedback.


I’ll be adding more information on our sponsors as they are confirmed. If you’d like to get involved with Operation Shoebox, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help you adopt a troop or get care packages together.