Today, millions of Americans celebrate Veterans Day by saluting the men and women who have bravely served our country. For The Coca-Cola Company, the Veterans Day festivities have been going strong since Wednesday. On Nov. 9, six Atlanta-based parenting bloggers joined more than 400 Coca-Cola employees to show their support for the Armed Forces by volunteering at the company’s seventh annual United Service Organizations (USO) Care Package Stuffing Party.

Sending the Items Service Members Need Most

The bloggers gathered at Coca-Cola headquarters to help assemble more than 10,000 care packages, adding to the more than 60,000 packages assembled by Coke employees since 2010. For many of the bloggers who attended, the stuffing party had personal meaning.

“I grew up in a military family and moved around the country, so I learned that being a part of the military comes with sacrifices and stressful situations,” said Stacie Connerty, who attended with her husband, Jason Connerty. “It is so important that we give back to those who give up so much to protect our freedom – and I’m proud to partner with Coca-Cola to do that.”

In addition to stuffing care packages, Coca-Cola employees and the bloggers wrote thousands of notes of thanks and encouragement to deliver to deployed troops.

“I never realized exactly how much the military does for me until my brother joined the Coast Guard,” said Lindsey Paris. “They are ever vigilant, and we owe them all a huge debt. It’s important to give back.”

Barbara Burns, who also has family in the Armed Forces, shared similar sentiment: “I believe supporting the military is an integral form of respect to those who serve in jobs that few are physically, mentally and emotionally able to do. The military plays a vital role in our country’s well-being.”

The USO and Coca-Cola thought carefully about what to include in the care packages, focusing on items deployed men and women said they need most when away from home – trial-size toiletries packaged in a small convenient kit.

“Without having to think, my answer was 'yes' when asked to help with the Coca-Cola Veterans Day Program. It's a simple thing to donate my time to stuff care packages for troops who are serving overseas,” said Trey Burley. “My wife and I teach our sons to thank veterans for their service and stand still during the national anthem – simple things that show respect for our country and the people who protect it.”

Maria Smith also enjoyed the experience giving back to those who serve: “While I don’t have a direct connection to the military, I, like so many Americans, am just in awe of them. They are the backbone of our democracy, keeping us safe while also helping people across the world.”

75 Years Worth Celebrating

This year’s USO Care Package Stuffing Party held special significance, as it marked two 75-year anniversaries: the founding of the USO and the beginning of Coca-Cola’s enduring commitment to our country’s military.

Coca-Cola began supporting U.S. troops in 1941, when former company president Robert Woodruff committed “to see that every person in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the company.” Woodruff delivered on that promise, constructing 64 bottling plants during the war to deliver a taste of home to soldiers across the globe. That same year, Coca-Cola began its longstanding partnership with the USO to support the organization’s mission of helping service members stay connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.

Since then, Coca-Cola has continued to increase its support of our nation’s heroes at home and abroad. The company is committed to hiring veterans, currently employing thousands across the Coca-Cola system and hiring hundreds more each year in North America. In addition, Coca-Cola participates in veteran mentoring programs like American Corporate Partners (ACP). Through the ACP partnership, more than 100 Coca-Cola employees have served as mentors to 124 veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce.

The World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta also offers free admission to military members year-round and extends an additional discount to their friends and family in honor of Veterans Day. And of course, The Coca-Cola Company provides great-tasting beverages – approximately 2.4 million servings per day – to refresh military members and their families around the world.

Today and always, Coca-Cola invites its fans to raise an ice-cold glass to those who serve.

Happy Veterans Day.