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 Tim Bachman, Emergency Services Director, American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region.
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.
Last year was the program's most successful year yet. The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes helped distribute approximately 1.2 million cards from the public to military members and their families. This year the Red Cross expects to see even more participation from the public, especially with the added option to go online and design a personalized card to the troops and their families.
To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than December 7, 2012. 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 Red Cross relies on the support of the American people to carry out its mission of service to the two 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 more than 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 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.