An effort is underway to send one million packs of its trading cards to troops stationed overseas. How you can help.
Soon, there may be more baseball cards in places like Afghanistan than in some American cities. That is, if collectors climb aboard a new campaign to send them to members of the US military who are in areas of the world where eBay and the local hobby shop are not an option.
Upper Deck is partnering with “Operation Gratitude,” a non-profit organization that sends 100,000-plus “care packages” annually to U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions across the world. The trading card manufacturer is launching the “Million Pack March for the Troops” campaign in an effort to send sealed packs of donated trading cards (sports and entertainment-based products) to deserving U.S. military men and women overseas.
To encourage customers and card collectors to donate some of their surplus card packs to the deserving troops, Upper Deck is donating 100,000 packs of cards to get the ball rolling. The goal will be to reach the 1,000,000-pack plateau by Veterans’ Day 2010. To create awareness, donation drives will be held at major industry shows including the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore in August while also working with its network of certified Upper Deck Diamond Dealers and hobby shops to establish donation drop-off points.
A contribution of any amount is welcomed by Operation Gratitude, but businesses that donate 1000 items or more will be listed as a "Friend of Operation Gratitude" on the company's website, with a link to their website. Donors of $10,000 or 10,000 items or more are deemed Corporate Sponsors, with additional prominent banner placement on the Operation Gratitude website, Press Releases, and recognition through the annually published Operation Gratitude Magazine (included in all care packages), newsletters, media and at the organization's events. All donations are tax deductible.
“We are very excited to partner with a dignified organization like Operation Gratitude,” said Kerri Kauffman, Upper Deck’s director of Marketing. “The hard-working and brave U.S. military men and women who are serving overseas deserve a fun distraction to help them get through their difficult days and lonely nights. Hopefully, opening up a pack of Upper Deck sports or entertainment trading cards will make them feel a little bit closer to being home.”
“Operation Gratitude is honored to join with Upper Deck to collect and send a million card packs to our men and women deployed in combat zones,” said Carolyn Blashek, founder of the organization. “Not only will the troops enjoy the cards among themselves, but the cards are also fantastic items to distribute to the Iraqi and Afghani children as gestures of friendship and support.”
Upper Deck says its Customer Service department routinely receives donations requests from military members overseas. Here’s an excerpt from a recent letter sent in by a U.S. serviceman stationed in Afghanistan: “We were all reminiscing about how we all used to collect cards and used to now players’ stats and birthdays. Sports are a big morale booster over here. We all think our hometown heroes are better than the next soldier’s, and getting mail is an awesome morale booster. Just opening letters and packages make us forget where we are at for that moment in time.”
It could be a win-win for all and might create some new collectors once those troops return from active duty.
Customers interested in donating any of their sealed packs of trading cards can send them to the following address:
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
Attn. Upper Deck’s Million Pack Drive to Support the Troops
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA9140