Cards sought for service membersIt’s too early for Christmas carols, but it’s just the right time to work on some holiday cheer for soldiers through the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
It’s too early for Christmas carols, but it’s just the right time to work on some holiday cheer for soldiers through the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.
The Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is collecting and sending holiday greeting cards featuring words of encouragement, thanks and support for veterans and active members of the U.S. armed services.
“This is kind of like a grassroots effort,” said Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, which distributed more than 400 cards last year.
Many children and adults make their own cards, with construction paper, rubber stamps, crayons or markers. But non-crafters can also participate in the program, using a pre-made greeting card and simply writing their thanks inside.
There are a few simple rules for the program:
* Cards should be addressed to “Dear Service Member, Veteran or Military Family.”
* Cards should be signed.
* Cards should not include letters, inserts of any kind, email or street addresses. Envelopes should also be removed.
* No glitter, because it can aggravate health issues.
* Cards can be generic winter holiday cards, but they can also be Christmas or Hanukkah cards.
All cards are screened to make sure contents are appropriate.
Since the program began in 2006, the American Red Cross and partner Pitney Bowes have sent out more than 4.7 million cards to nursing homes, veterans hospitals and soldiers who have been deployed.
“We do keep some cards local,” Dewald said, adding that some go to local nursing homes.
The Arts Center’s Arts After School program will make some cards for the program, and a 4-H group is also planning to participate. Adults also participate in the program.
Individuals and groups who want to help out can bundle cards in a large mailing envelope or flat rate box and mail them to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.
People can also drop off the cards locally at the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Donations are also needed to defray the costs of delivering the cards, Dewald said.
Anyone with questions can call Dewald at 252-3550 or check the Red Cross website about the program at http://www.redcross.org//support/get-involved/
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at