By Cherri Gregg

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Operation Gratitude Day is this Friday. It’s Philadelphia’s chance to donate items for care packages sent to troops deployed overseas.

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Group founder Carolyn Blashek says a little gift can go a long way for the holidays.

“It’s really important that they know that the American people greatly appreciate their service.”

During the holidays, the group sends 40,000 to 50,000 care packages to troops stationed on the front lines.

“It’s the most difficult time emotionally because it always brings back memories of the wonderful times that they do spend with family members,” Blashek says each of the packages contain goodies like snack foods, energy drinks and DVDs. Some of the gifts, like stuffed animals, the troops give to others.

“They like to give them to the children in Afghanistan and in exchange the children tell them where the bombs are, where the bags are.”

Some of the favorites are handmade scarves and handwritten letters of appreciation. Blashek says, the most important thing to say in a letter is “thank you.”

“That is what this is all about,” she says. “Expressing your appreciation and understanding that these men and women are away from their family during the holiday.”

You can drop off items at the following Philadelphia area locations from 8am to 1pm on Friday.  All items should be brand new.

1. Cira Center Lobby, 2929 Arch Street

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2. 1515 Market Street, Main Lobby

3. One Crescent Drive, The Navy Yard

4. 1234 Market Street, Mezzanine Level

5. 1700 Market Street, Main Lobby

6. 1835 Market Street , Ground Floor Lobby

7. SEPTA AT&T Station, Broad Street Line,  Sports Complex Arena Station

8. Two Commerce Sq., Commerce Sq. Lobby, 2001 Market Street

9. The Wanamaker Building, 100 E. Penn Square

10. 3600 Market Street, Main Lobby

For more details visit

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