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Local Red Cross Encourages Public to Send Holiday Greetings to America’s Heroes

Major Rene Concordia
It just takes a moment to sign a card to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military community make.

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.

Between October 1 and December 7, Americans can give something that means something by sending a card of thanks and support to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

“It just takes a moment to sign a card to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military community make,” said Mary Liz Murphy, Services to Armed Forces Manager, “You say thanks, we’ll do the rest. We encourage you to make this a family activity, a school project or a civic group event, or participate in one of the card making events in Madison, Wausau, Stevens Point, Eau Claire, La Crosse and Janesville.”

The Red Cross is inviting the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer until December 7 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 December 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, we’re proud to have a Lisa Boline, from Wisconsin serving in the American Red Cross at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Her role involves supporting our military members oversees 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 1-800-REDCROSS. Individuals can also give the gift of life by making an appointment to give blood at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

About our Holiday Partners

During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for the support of our corporate partners that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include: University of Phoenix, Circle K West Coast Division, and the Community Safety Foundation, funded by AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange. Thanks to the generosity of these and other sponsors, the Red Cross is able to carry out its mission of helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies everyday here and around the world. Each holiday season the Red Cross gives everyone the chance to support our work by giving blood, signing a card for military heroes or buying a gift through our holiday catalog. To support the Red Cross this Holiday Season, visit www.redcross.org/holiday.