While beer is the mainstay product at D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. in Pottsville, on Nov. 25 it was toiletry care packages that employees were assembling through Operation Gratitude.
About 60 staff members alongside Debbie Yuengling, sixth generation family member, assembled kits containing dental floss, deodorant, lip balm, mouthwash, hand lotion and Yuengling branded key chains, bottle openers and letters of appreciation from Yuengling employees.
“Military service is near and dear to our hearts as a family,” said Yuengling, whose grandfather Richard L. Yuengling Sr. was an Air Force pilot during World War II.
According to the Operation Gratitude website about 2.470 million care packages have been sent to a variety of military service and first responder men, women and their families since 2003.
The organization coordinates with volunteers to receive assembled kits. It then distributes the completed packages overseas, the website said.
Yuengling said Operation Gratitude was a good fit for her family’s business as the company was looking for an employee volunteer project with a holiday theme to benefit military personnel.
“It was our first event, and we had a great turnout. We’ve never done something like this before,” Yuengling said.
Brewery staff took turns during their breaks to come to the office where the kits were being assembled and packed.
Beyond creating and sending care packages, Yuengling said, it was meaningful to interact with employees “…off the production floor and to hear their stories.
“Being America’s oldest brewery and knowing these people are fighting for us and weathering storms [in war and conflict] and we’re fortunate to have made it through that and we’re thankful to those who’ve put their lives on the line.”
She’s excited about next year’s volunteer project, and hopes to work with Operation Gratitude again.
“We do donations and give back, but I’d like to do more hands-on volunteering” in the future, she said.
Throughout 2019 Yuengling celebrated 190 years in business, with events, concerts and special beer releases.
“As we wrap up the year Operation Gratitude was something very special to give back to our consumers and the community,” Yuengling said.
Operation Gratitude is a nationwide network of sponsors and volunteers donating items and their time to assemble care packages.
For information visit operationgratitude.com.