While military deployments and hospital stays may keep many of our nation’s heroes away from their families this holiday season, the American Red Cross is collecting and distributing cards that send words of encouragement, gratitude and cheer.
Now through Dec. 7, Americans can give something that means a lot by sending a card of thanks and support to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
The Red Cross is inviting the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer by mailing them to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
Pitney Bowes Inc. receives cards at the special Holiday Mail post office box, and screens them for hazardous materials. Pitney Bowes screens, packages and ships the cards at no charge, and contributes thousands of volunteer hours at sites around the country.
Red Cross volunteers across the United States and on military installations overseas then sort and deliver the cards throughout the holiday season. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have received and distributed more than 4.7 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families since the program began in 2006. Locally, the goal is to distribute 10,000 cards to local veteran clinics and hospitals and through veteran groups. The Red Cross will schedule volunteers to assist in the sorting and delivery of cards.
To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than Dec. 7. Individuals are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary donations, or using glitter or any other kinds of inserts with the cards. More information and card requirements are at redcross.org/holidaymail.
The public can connect with fellow card senders through Facebook at facebook.com/redcross and Twitter.com/redcross using the hashtag #holidaymail.
This year, Lisa Boline from Wisconsin is serving in the American Red Cross at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Her role involves supporting military members overseas, from being a 24-hour emergency communication conduit to supporting deliveries of products to troops, supporting morale and even hospital visits with wounded warriors and Fallen Heroes ceremonies. She sees first-hand the impact of receiving cards and letters from home.
The Red Cross relies on the support of the American people to carry out its mission of service to the 2 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces, 24 million veterans and their families. During this holiday season, people also can support all Red Cross services by making a financial donation at redcross.org or by calling (800) REDCROSS (733-2767). Individuals can also make an appointment to give blood at redcrossblood.org or by calling the toll-free number listed above.