For the fifth year in a row, people from all corners of the country showed their incredible support for the country’s service members, veterans and their families by participating in Holiday Mail for Heroes, a program run by the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes.
At shopping malls, over Thanksgiving gatherings and simply during their own free time, Americans of all ages took the program’s mission to heart and sent in thousands of holiday greeting cards, which will be distributed across the country and around the world.
Handmade cards from children often win the most smiles. The Apple Tree Connections Day Care in Appleton, Wisconsin, chose the Holiday Mail for Heroes program as a special project because the day care has children with parents who are veterans or are on active duty.
As she made her own holiday card in early November, Natalie Ross, 4, shared with Red Cross workers how proud she is of her daddy as “he is there to save the world.” Ross’ father had just deployed to Afghanistan the week before.
At the University of South Carolina, students from the Athletics Department unleashed their own creativity by holding a Holiday Mail for Heroes card-design contest. Two dozen volunteers from the department, both students and employees, spent time at the Red Cross office in Columbia to put together their handmade greetings.
In Washington, D.C., one woman’s birthday became the perfect venue for a Holiday Mail for Heroes party. Ann Church, a Red Cross employee, chose the theme “Doing for Others” for her birthday celebration, and told guests to come prepared with ideas of what to write in the greeting cards.
“Between eating and holding the babies and getting caught up with each other, we filled out 160 cards for the Holiday Mail program,” Church said. “The friends and family in attendance were so grateful to have an easy way to make a difference for our military. They are hopeful that other activities can be found that we can use at gatherings throughout next year.”
Even members of the military joined in the act. At Osan Air Base in Korea, members of the 51st Fighter Wing volunteered their time to help Red Cross staff sort thousands of cards they received at the base in late November. All cards sent through the Holiday Mail for Heroes program are screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working across the country—and around the world.
Although the Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box closes today, you can still send a real holiday card online through December 11. Thank you for your support of our country’s military, veterans and their families!Children at the Apple Tree Connections Day Care in Appleton, Wis., show the cards they made for troops, veterans and their families. Photo credit: Barbara Behling/American Red Cross. The proud winners of the University of South Carolina Athletics Department’s Holiday Mail for Heroes card design contest. From left: Paul Stoltzfun, Gerald Dixon Jr. and Raymond Harrison. Photo by: Anna Kate Christophillis/American Red Cross