The American Red Cross set a record this year with its Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Nationwide, the organization sent more than 2.1 million holiday greetings to members of the United States military, veterans and their families around the world.
The Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter contributed a great deal to that success. Teaming up with the St. Louis Rams, the Red Cross collected more than 35,000 cards. More than two-dozen schools joined in the effort through the Rams’ Holiday Mail for Heroes PLAY 60 competition, a classroom-based program that inspires kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day in school and at home. McKinley Classical Junior Academy in South St. Louis won the competition, with nearly 500 participants who created more than 750 cards. The students will be treated to a PLAY 60 assembly that features a St. Louis Rams player appearance.
The Red Cross also participated in the Rams’ Staff Day of Service, when members of the Rams front office, along with Edward Jones employees, visited and signed cards with students at Long and Sappington elementary schools in the Lindbergh school district. In all, students signed more than 10,000 cards – nearly one-third of the overall total in the St. Louis area.
The Rams was one of 10 National Football League teams to support the Holiday Mail for Heroes program nationwide. Local individuals and corporations held card signing events as well. This was the seventh year for the Red Cross project, which allows people to send holiday well wishes to members of the Armed Forces, their families and the country’s veterans.
“Thank you so much to everyone in our local communities who took a moment to say thank you to our military,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional CEO of the Red Cross. “That one wish goes a long way, whether it is to someone serving our military overseas or a veteran here at home.”
Once signed, all cards went to a special post office box in Washington, DC for screening, packaging and shipment to Red Cross offices around the world. Volunteers helped screen, sort and deliver the holiday greetings to the military, veterans and their families.
Holiday Mail for Heroes is part of the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces program. For more than 130 years, the Red Cross has provided comfort and support to troops – including the 2 million current members, 24 million veterans and the families who support all of them.
Locally, the American Red Cross is a proud member agency of the United Way, which makes significant investments every year in Red Cross services.