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Congress Helps Bring Holiday Cheer to Troops

Hundreds of members of Congress, congressional staff members and others came together today in Washington, D.C., to pen their holiday greetings to service members, veterans and military family members stationed around the world.

The American Red Cross will deliver these holiday cards to military bases and hospitals, veteran’s hospitals and other locations during the holidays, along with thousands of cards sent by individuals, school groups and other organizations.

Members of Congress arrived at the Rayburn House Office Building in a steady stream all morning to sign cards. Among them were Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif.; Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif; Rep. Debby Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.; Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa; Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo.; and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.

“During this holiday season, I hope all West Virginians will join me in remembering our men and women serving in the military around the world,” said U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), a Member of the House Military Veterans Caucus. “I am proud to join the Red Cross in supporting our military heroes and their families, whose selfless sacrifice deserves our recognition not just during the holidays but all year round.”

“With the holidays fast approaching, there’s no better time to send a special thank you to those who have fought to defend the freedom we enjoy,” said Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill.

Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, and Red Cross Chair Bonnie McElveen-Hunter also attended the event, speaking with a number of members and their staff about Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces. A number of congressional members also took the opportunity to comment on the good work the Red Cross does in their communities.

This is the fifth year in a row that the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have teamed up to give people the chance to send a touch of home to troops, veterans and their families through Holiday Mail for Heroes. Since 2007, more than 3.5 million holidays cards have been distributed through this program.

How You Can Get Involved From now until December 9, the public is invited to send holiday cards that contain messages of cheer and appreciation. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will then screen the cards for hazardous materials, sort and package the cards, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran’s hospitals and other locations during the holidays.

The Holiday Mail For Heroes post office box is open and ready to receive cards. Please send all mail to:

Holiday Mail For Heroes P.O. Box 5456 Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure your card goes through the review process quickly:

  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send letters.
  • All cards should be postmarked no later than Friday, December 9, 2011. Please be sure to affix adequate postage.
  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please do not send cards with glitter.
  • Participants should limit the number of cards they submit to 25 from any one person or 50 from any one class or group. If you are mailing a large quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

You can get more involved with the campaign by connecting with fellow card senders through Facebook at and Twitter at using the hashtag #holidaymail.

For more information and card requirements, please visit