It goes without saying that deployments usually range from tough to extreme. Whether it's crushing boredom or something far more harrowing, active duty troops usually need something to take the edge off.
Enter Operation Supply Drop and the 8-Bit Salute. Founded by Army veteran Stephen Machuga, Operation Supply Drop raises money to send video games and consoles to troops overseas who are in serious need of levity and relaxation. Games do more than just grind the hours away: they give troops something enjoyable to focus on, and a way to decompress during extremely stressful situations.
"I wanted to give those guys something that would blow their minds when they opened the box," Machuga said.
"It's an exclusive, luxury care package to a platoon of infantrymen who aren't making assistant manager wages at McDonalds while they're deployed downrange, shooting at people, and getting mortared every day. They absolutely deserve it. Those packages will live with them in their deployment memories forever. Period."
The 8-Bit Salute, the charity drive that supports Operation Supply Drop, is gearing up for its fourth annual run on May 16th and 17th. This year's salute brings a slew of big partners including Rooster teeth, Astro Gaming, theChive, Wargaming, Polaris, Twitch, and GAEMS.
Participating in the 8-Bit Salute is simple: play games for 24 hours. That can be broken up into multiple sessions or attempted in one go. However you do it, let people know what you're up to, spread awareness, and help raise donations for the cause.
Keeping up a high pace of growth, the 8-Bit Salute's new goal is to break $1,337,000 in donations. Individuals and organizations alike can join for free, but an optional $15 "ELITE" fee unlocks potential prize opportunities, and passing $200 in donations will win you a shirt themed for this year's event.
If you'd like to donate or sign up, head over to the 8-Bit Salute's event page.