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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Operation Troop Appreciation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: To build and sustain the morale and well being of the military community, past and present, with the assurance that the American public supports and appreciates their selfless service and daily sacrifices.

Results: Since July of 2004, OTA has provided support to over 185,000 members of the military and veteran community and have done so with a 100% volunteer staff, ensuring that donations are used to fund troop and veteran support projects.

Target demographics: military members and veterans

Direct beneficiaries per year: 20,000 members of the military and veteran communities

Geographic areas served: Western PA Veterans and Deployed Troops all over the world

Programs: Active-Duty WishList program Welcome Home Veteran Support program

Community Stories

294 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Veteran that has been helped by OTA in many ways over the past few years and don’t know exactly how to adequately put my family and I’d thanks into words, but I’ll try. When I got into our new apartment after being transient for almost a year it wasn’t just the physical items in the Welcome Home Kit, or beds for my wife and I and for each of our 3 kids. It was so much more. It helped turn our small but cozy new house into a “Real Home!”You can tell they do what they do for one reason... because they truly care about helping Vets. I also had a few appointments at the VA and our car was getting repaired and again OTA stepped up and helped me get back and forth to those very important appointments by Vets Taxi. I live a little north of Pittsburgh too so I know those 6 rides could not have been cheap. I offered to try and at least pay something towards it and they simply said, “Thank you. We appreciate the offer, but we got this. You need this. You deserve this. And we genuinely ‘Thank YOU’ for your service to our country.” After I hung up the phone I just sat there in my bedroom and cried for a while. A lot of folks will say, “We appreciate your service.” and I thank them, but at times at least to me it feels a bit... forced or just the P.C. thing to say, but with OTA and their entire Voluntary Staff you know their sincere and can honestly FEEL THEY CARE. This organization and its entire staff have helped my family and I and I hope to at some point be able to give back to them at some point even a small part of what they have given us. I am looking forward to the Christmas Party I’ve heard a lot about that they throw for Veterans and their families and if they’ll let me I would love to Volunteer to help at that event any way I can. Thank you. Sincerely, R.J.A. Semper Fidelis

Vicky R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Myself and my unit deployed to Iraq during the COVID pandemic. Unfortunately this meant many of our R&R activities such as the gym were closed. I reached out to Operation Troop Appreciation, and heard back right away. Within a week they sent us as much gym equipment that they could get together. We are grateful to have equipment which allows us to stay physically fit, and also occupied during our off time. This is the best Christmas gift we could have gotten! I could not recommend them more. A special thank you to Monica from Operation Troop Appreciation who made this all happen.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Operation Troop Appreciation is an amazing organization!!! They have been helping many Veterans through the past several years and they are making a positive difference in the lives of Veterans. I am very appreciative for all of the volunteers of Operation Troop Appreciation led by Monica ORLUK, Executive Director.
Mary Frances Pilarski, Coordinator, Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
These are my personal views and not the views of VA and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Case Manager for Housing Homeless Veterans with the Pittsburgh VA. Over the past 5 years I have worked with many Veterans in getting them housed and either into a new apartment or house. However, I do not have resources to help a Veteran sufficiently "get settled in" and make it into more than just another place to lay their head, but actually feel comfortable, safe and independent.
Operation Troop Appreciate has worked tirelessly and very generously to help me and others in similar positions get a Welcome Home Kit and new bed for newly housed Veterans. The WHK is just what it sounds like. It is a myriad of items that one needs to equip a new residence. Everything from pots, dishes, towels, shower curtains, new linens and pillows for their new bed and so many other things that it is usually overwhelming when I deliver it to the Veterans.
On top of that, OTA partners with the Original Mattress Factory to get the Veteran a brand new bed that is made specifically for them, delivered and set up in their new place. It may seem like something small, but to the Veterans I am privileged to serve it makes a huge difference.
Additionally, they provide Taxi transportation to and from appointments if needed until other more long-term arrangements can be made. This is also naturally a wonderful help for some of the Veterans that simply would not be able to make it to very urgent appointments when they have no other options.
Basically, Operation Troop Appreciation and their entire team of 100% Volunteers helps me help Veterans exponentially more and better overall than I could ever even hope to imagine on my own.

Please note, these are my personal views, not the views of VA or VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Thank you.

-JRD, HCHV CM/SW

Donor

Rating: 5

I have worked with OTA for the last 5 years donating to them with a benefiting concert, that I produce and perform in, called Country Sounds For Soldiers. The volunteers that do what they do is selfless, amazing and truly noteworthy. They make the lives of our American heroes, that need help, so much better in a way than just household necessities. They're there for personal and moral support if needed. I'm a much better person for my role with the organization and proud to know each and every person I've met through the years. I plan on being a donor for as long as it takes.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been blessed to have several volunteer opportunities with OTA over the years. Their work is truly heart-felt, from serving the active military community to serving veterans and their families. It is impossible to come away from an event unaffected. We look forward to helping with the Christmas Party every year!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

OTA is the best in town to bring care for its veterans. Happy and proud to partner with it!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Can't say enough wonderful things about Operation Troop Appreciation. The most valuable thing from what I see is they are 100% veteran centric. They don't stop bringing the best services available in town. If there is ever a question of "can they do it", they always figure out a way to get it done; all for the benefit and support of the veteran.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My experience with OTA is both attending fundraisers and their support of friends stationed overseas. Their commitmemt to serving our military is quite exceptional.

Daniel B.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

OTA Made sure my kids had presents at Christmas after I fell on financial hard times. One of the few nonprofits in Pittsburgh who is in it to serve veterans, not their own ego.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I couldn't think of a better place to volunteer. As a team leader with OTA I have gotten to work more closely with people from every aspect of our organization, from the military members that we serve to the people that help support OTA in every aspect. I have met some of the best people I will ever meet through OTA.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Troop Appreciation does amazing work with both active duty military and Veterans of the military. Every day they make a difference in somebody's life

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The folks at Operation Troop Appreciation are awesome! They sent us a great care package filled with all the items that we have a hard time getting over here. They truly went above and beyond in providing addtional morale and a taste of back home. Thank you for all that you do for us!

Clayton P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization was so helpful to my father, who is 95 and a Navy Veteran. He needed help and supplies in moving and they stepped up. I know they do much more but I cannot say thank you enough.

Sabine S.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the privilege to witness Operation Troop Appreciation's dedicated volunteers and the impact their work makes on veterans in need. The veterans I worked with were blown away by Operation Troop Appreciation's kindness and generosity. The volunteers' tireless work really shows the troops how much each and everyone is appreciated.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with OTA for more than 14 years, at first reaching out for their services to provide essential items for a start up program for women veterans facing homelessness . If it wasn’t for this organization it would have been impossible! They provided beds , household items, cleaning supplies, children’s items etc ! just to many things to list. Anytime I reached out for help they were there, providing a hand up to all veterans.
This is an amazing organization ! One that I know actually does what they say. ALL volunteers , not one person is paid.
You know that your donations are going directly to a veteran in need.
The most professional, dedicated group of people I have ever had the privilege to meet in my 40 years of social services. They are the real deal !

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering here for a few years now and am impressed by the level of support they offer to our troops, especially during this current CV19 situation. We have been providing essential items that are difficult to obtain at local stores (tp, sanitizer, cleaners, etc). OTA has remained open throughout the CV19 period doing their best to provide whatever vets and active duty have requested.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved in Operation Troop Appreciation for more than 11 years as a volunteer board member and also as a recipient of its services as a deployed servicemember. You will never find a group of hardworking and giving people as the volunteers of OTA. They continually give their time, love, effort and money to support the needs of deployed troops and veterans transitioning back into the community from all military generations. This organization runs effectively while relying 100% on the contributions of volunteers and the community. It truly is an outstanding organization, providing outstanding support to our nation's servicemembers and veterans.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I serve on the Board of Directors of an outstanding nonprofit organization called Operation Troop Appreciation (OTA). The mission of OTA is to sustain the morale of deployed troops by providing them with “wish list” care packages. The wishes consist of everything from hygiene items and snacks to blankets, gloves, GPS systems and other tactical gear that’s hard to come by within the military supply system.

Since its inception in 2004, OTA has successfully granted wishes for nearly 800 units comprised of more than 80,000 service members. While OTA is based in Pittsburgh, the organization supports all types of units, active and Reserve, including all branches of the military regardless of where they are stationed. OTA is comprised exclusively of volunteers and 98.5 of all financial contributions go directly to support our troops overseas. Over the years, more than $1 Million of support has been sent to our troops.

The volunteers with OTA are the most patriotic people I've ever met. I've been a member of the Army Reserve for more than 26 years and I'm humbled at the dedication and level of patriotism with this fine folks who give of themselves freely and expect nothing in return.

Review from Guidestar

Robwells99

Client Served

Rating: 5

There is no greater friend to a veteran then OTA, Monica and her team are AMAZING........
They go 100% 24-7 to gather things to help the troops, they are a godsend

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Client Served

Rating: 5

During my deployment to Afghanistan OTA sent my Unit tons of needed supplies even a pair of much needed Oakley Ballistic glass’s for each of us
Monica and the team at OTA are the best!!!!!!!!

Kimberly Rae G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My favorite charity. I have known the one of the organizator since the beginning.

Andrea Michelucci K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A truly remarkable charity. The time, dedication and caring each volunteer puts into making this charity the absolute best for our Veterans and Active Service Men and Women, speaks volumes. I commend each and every one of them for going above and beyond!

Shane L.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

While I was deployed all three times our unit got amazing care packages from OTA. It was a great morale booster to get all the amazing things inside! Especially all the homemade cards.

Bridget28

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Operation Troop Appreciation does such a wonderful job helping our veterans in need.
This is a great non profit organization that is very much appreciated in our area.

Client Served

Rating: 5

So there we were...downtown Baghdad in the middle of the fight with ISIS and we were trying to play Hockey with broken sticks and 1970's era catcher's gear for the goalies. Operation Troop Appreciation came to the rescue. Not only did they show incredible compassion, they influenced their extensive network and showed incredible tenacity to ensure we received sticks, pads, and even T-shirts to help set up teams. Incredible experience and I am very grateful for everything Monica and team did for us.

Holly S.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The troop 5k run in November is wonderful. I participate every year because its such a great cause and organization!

John E. D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the best organization I have worked with. They have helped me and others in so many ways. I have shared with other Veterans, the great work that they do. From top to troop, they are top notch. Monica and Sherry, I owe so much to you and OTA.

Elaine A.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Excellent work, excellent people, excellent support for our troops!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work that OTA does is life changing for the men and women that we serve. To be heading towards a 15 year anniversary and to have been 100% volunteer from the inception of the Charity is amazing and one I am proud to be a part of.

Donor

Rating: 5

Throughout my daughter's deployment, I (along with many friends) sent boxes to her ship. The many thanks we received from the sailors was more than we expected or needed to recieve. Now that deployment is complete, we will support OTA.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great non profit for Veterans and service members during great times of need , this organization is a great morale booster for veterans and they are constantly doing their best to service new needs in the veteran community as they arise, which can be seen with their welcome home packages for homeless transitioning veterans that they issue veterans , and helping veterans with connecting them for needed medical appointments with a free handicap accommodated taxi trip.

Thanks OTA!

Nick Fate
Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania

1 Donny W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Troop Appreciation supported me over the course of four combat deployments. Their kindness, generosity, and support is like something I’ve rarely experienced! I’ll never forget the fantastic people that work there and their amazing mission.

Daniel B.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

amazing nonprofit that really makes a difference in veterans lives.

the_ben_keen

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been working with OTA for the better part of 5 years and as an Active Duty Army Veteran, I can tell you this organization stands out as one of the best! The volunteers truly have a deep passion for the ciritcal work the organization is filling both for those deployed overseas and those facing issues upon their return. OTA continues to push themselves harder and harder to truly be a beacon of Hope and support for active duty military, veterans and their families. Every dollar donated goes directly to the mission, no member of the staff or board receives a salary or payment for work done, it is all done out of the true passion for the work.

Brian S.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

OTA, You guys and girls have saved me in Afghanistan, saved me in civilian life and MONICA YOU ARE MY REAL WORLD ANGEL! THANK YOU

Donor

Rating: 5

The best, most committed volunteers, working together for a wonderful cause. Making a HUGE difference in the fight to end homelessness in the veteran community, while simutaneously taking care of our troops deployed overseas. I encourage everyone who has been touched, in any way, by OTA to write a 5 Star review and donate.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with OTA in the winter and have had nothing but amazing experiences since! What they do for the troops abroad and veterans in the area is remarkable. They have a heck of a team (100% volunteer) working for them around the clock, all while working full-time jobs during the day. They are grateful for all that they receive - they are sure to send thank you notes and recognize donors on social media, and are so friendly. They also are SURE to give as much $ back to the troops/veterans as humanly possible by having very little overhead costs. Thank you OTA for being amazing!! We love you!!

Lauri Fegal W.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is an awesome organization that helps our troops and veterans. They have been very instrumental in helping Veterans moving into housing with the necessary items to begin setting up a home.
No one in this organization gets paid except for the feeling of helping our military and veterans.
They do this through donations and fundraising. The dedicated men and women deserve to be recognized for the good they do
As a Peer Leader Of WoVeN , I know how much the Welcome Home packages mean to our Veterans

Nancy Beech S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for a few months at the West Mifflin facility. It is my honor to help our military.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been associated with Operation Troop Appreciation for over a decade. I don't know of any other charity organization that donates 99% of everything it takes in to the cause it supports. These folks are all non-paid volunteers, supporting our troops overseas, for nothing but the love of our country and our freedom. Operation troop Appreciation will always be the first non-profit organization I donate to.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a great experience helping out such a great organization!!! Everyone is so compassionate and giving of themselves all while helping our vets!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Monica Orluk for president 2020. She has what it takes to make America great again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The volunteers at OTA are top notch and have such a love for our military persons and they strive every day to make as many active duty military and veterans of our military feel as loved as they possible can. The people that we serve are so thankful for the help that they receive from OTA.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My son collected items on OTA's "needed items" list in lieu of gifts for his 9th birthday. The volunteers allowed he and a few of his buddies to drop it off and gave them a tour of the facility, telling the kids stories about the people they were helping. They even sent thank you notes and pictures to the kids in the mail. This experience will stay with them forever!

1 Larry D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

During our first deployment Operation Troop Appreciation was there when we asked for help. Being a unit that traveled the triangle of Iraq and having a difficult time setting up accounts, our men were hurting for much needed personal hygiene items. We were actually the first unit that OTA began it's start with. OTA also supported my unit on it's second tour as well.

Previous Stories
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Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi OTA was outstanding in both my tours. Whatever we needed they supplied or found for us. We were actually the first Unit they helped out. We traveled all over Iraq and had little or no support from Active Army and OTA helped us. We will always hold a special place in our Heart for those who support and those who work at OTA. Thank You and Good luck OTA.

Review from Guidestar

2 Kacey L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They are an amazing non profit! On multiple occasions they have offered support to my family as well as my husband, the soldier. It varied from care packages to meet and greet dinners and baseball games! They supported our entire unit during their tour in support of Operation enduring freedom, sending care packages of all needed items. They have even expanded to helping soldiers and their families after deployments. I was even blessed to help volunteer at events for collection of donations and getting signatures for cards for care packages and much more!

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As an army wife, During my husbands first deployment, I had the honor to volunteer and help make and send care packages. So much work, thought, and dedication goes into what some people think is just a box but Is really a morale booster. What most people take for granted OTA knows that the soldiers need those items. My husband received care packages while he was over in Afghanistan and they really helped him. From necessities to things that can help pass time. Both him and I were very appreciative to have been blessed with OTA. What the people at OTA do is amazing and I am so happy I was able to help with the cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the honor of working with OTA for the past few years and I can tell you, as a Veteran, this organization is doing amazing things. From supplying critical iteams to service members down range to stepping in to help a Veteran transition into a stable living situation; OTA continues to be there!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We reached out to Operation Troop Appreciation to request used softball equipment in order to start a team for the league on the installation. Not only did they deliver, but supplied enough brand new gloves and bats to support the entire team. Without their support we would have not been able to field a team. Many thanks from the members of "Reaper" nation.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

OTA is a wonderful organization that goes above and beyond to assist our troops by lifting their spirits and making everyday life a little bit easier. They do not seek profit lines like other troop programs, which shows OTA's heart and soul dedication to the core.

OTA assisted my brother and his team multiple times while overseas and my brother mentioned on several occasions how great it was to get the packages with the simplest common household items. Since my brother was the main point of contact with OTA, he became very popular among the other squads and word about OTA spread quickly.

I highly recommend this organization in everything they do and stand for! Please consider supporting them!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with and experienced the generosity of Operation Troop Appreciation during events and as a deployed soldier. You will not find a more dedicated staff especially since they are all volunteer. Their officers work full time jobs plus the additional hours to staff OTA. They are truly the best!

1 Karl A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing organization! Helped us out so much with our wishlist items and other care package items. Great communication as well. I really felt like I was dealing with people passionate about the program.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amanda and her crew are outstanding! She gave our unit everything we asked for, and then some! She was great to deal with, excellent communication back and forth. Will definitely look up this org again if we need support for another deployment.

Thanks again OTA - you guys are awesome!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter Debbie and I became involved with OTA some time ago. We started to help gather requests for items needed for whole families or single vets that we call Welcome Home Kits. and the rest is history. We'll be there any time there is another need of anyone who needs anything. It 's just some thing I'll always love doing . It's an honor to be able to do anything that's needed Marlene

Client Served

Rating: 5

With limited supplies and the thought of how you will be able to acquire simple materials is the normal struggle of a deployed troop. Having great organizations like OTA, who not only go out of their way to find ways to make troops life easier by providing requested items and assisting you throughout the process. Amanda being the Director reached out to me and acquired all the information she needed to make our request the best to her ability. Not only did she receive all the information she needed but maintained an open communication with me to assure everything went well through the process and we received everything. Thank you OTA for all you do and its greatly appreciated.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have received so many love and care from OTA . Our unit is so lucky to have the support and love because it make us remember that we are not alone and amazing people care about us. I been deployed in Afghanistan one year and since then I arrived I have receive the amazing support making my life better and feeling appreciated for my work, supporting our mission and for all the time I have give up in my life for being here.

Thank you so much for all your love and for taking care of me and all my unit.

Donor

Rating: 5

So happy to support an organization that supports our troops. I was proud to choose Operation Troop Appreciation to be our designated charity in lieu of flowers when my husband, a Vietnam Vet, passed away this year. In his memory, our family wanted to see our troops honored in a way that many Vietnam vets were not upon their return.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I reached out to Operation Troop Appreciation (OTA)for an item our unit needed but had trouble getting the funds to purchase. After receiving my request OTA quickly filled the order. Their service not only helped our unit but allowed us to better train/educate others.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are delighted to receive care packages. We really appreciate and thank each and everyone that has helped support the troops. I am glad to know that there is organizations out there that really care about the troops. we would like to thank once more for supporting us!! :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are a unit in southwest Asia, who have received outstanding support from OTA! No hesitation in recommending this organization - if you can provide your support, it will definitely be passed to the troops over here!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Troop Appreciation has a been tremendous in support us in this deplane for that I just want to say that you guys are rock stars. Thanks again.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wish I could guve them 10 stars! Most support non profits only send boxes of goodies, but this organization sent items we requested. Because of there amazing support and going way above and beyond, my unit deemed me the care package master because it wasn't the normal food items. They sent a bunch of cool gear we requested. OTA ROCKS!

2 Donna251

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome organization to work with. Vets and deployed troops are so appreciative of what they receive. We are all volunteers. Such a rewarding experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am truly honored to be a volunteer at Operation Troop Appreciation. All of the volunteers work as a true team. I love working with the Welcome Home Program to make our Veterans homes as great as our vets are to us.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely incredible support to deployed military members. While every care package/letter received is great, a lot of the guys don't have families back home helping them get through this. Operation Troop Appreciation meets specific needs identified by the military member. At some camps you can get just about everything needed, at others--many everyday items are in short supply or never available. OTA goes out of their way to hunt it down and get it to us. That kind of personalized support is something you'd normally only get from family. For many, it is the little things that go a long way toward making the time away from home bearable. Thank you and please keep up the great work--your Operation is definitely Appreciated by the Troops!

Col Bruce Munger
Camp RS, Kabul

Client Served

Rating: 5

This review is in regards to my experience with Operation Troop Appreciation.
I am a First Sergeant for a large unit here in Afghanistan. I reached out to these great folks through the internet because I wanted to provide my unit goodies that can appreciate while deployed. They sent out great boxes of things to include Little Debbie Snack cakes, popcorn, candy, beef jerkey and other great items the folks enjoyed. They are a great company that included pics and cards as well. The guys/gals loved it and I sent them pics of them opening their boxes. What a great company, if I could give them 6 starts I would.
Thanks for your support of us Airman deployed in Afghanistan !
God Bless

Client Served

Rating: 5

Operation Troop Appreciation has served our unit, of over 350 personnel. The generous supports have mailed many care packages and letters of encouragement to all of us. We greatly appreciate all of the support they have given us. The kind gestures from all of their volunteers are greatly appreciated and we look forward to their continued support during the remainder of our time here.. From all of us serving overseas we thank you so very much.