Families Gather to Create Holiday Cards for Our Heroes

HMFH
The Holiday Mail for Heroes post office box is open and ready to receive cards.

This holiday season, many service members will find themselves far from their home and loved ones. The American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program helps thank the men and women serving in the military during the holidays, bringing smiles to their faces and boosting morale. These festive cards containing kind words remind them that they and their service are not forgotten amid the bustle of the season.

On Saturday, November 17, military families, Blue Star Families, girl scouts and boy scouts joined the Red Cross to make cards for the 2012 Holiday Mail for Heroes program. With markers, paper, stickers and stencils, these families gathered at the Red Cross Hall of Service in Washington, D.C. to create cards filled with words of gratitude, encouragement and season’s greetings for our troops.

Beau Blew, LT, U.S. Army, sat with his wife making holiday cards. He had received cards through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program when serving in Afghanistan from February 2010 to November 2011.

“The best cards are the ones from the little kids because the S’s are backwards,” Blew said with a smile. “They are really sincere. A lot of kids aren’t exposed to the military, but at least they know there are people out there taking care of them.”

Mary Weaver and her two children, Ryan and Anna, a Blue Star Family from Gainesville, Va., also joined the Red Cross card making event for the first time.

As Ryan, age 7, stenciled a reindeer onto his card, he said he was making cards for “people who are not going to here for Christmas,” and hoped the recipients would like them. Ryan had already crafted a card in the shape of a stocking while his sister worked on a card with a big yellow star.

“We hung them (the holiday cards) up in the chow hall, so we had holiday cards up year round,” said Blew.

How to Send Your Own Holiday Cards

From now until December 7, 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 a quick reviewing process:

  • 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.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.
  • For more information and card requirements, please visit Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes.

    Each year the Red Cross provides assistance to more than two million service members and many of our nation’s 24 million veterans. The Red Cross supports military families, military and veterans hospitals and provides emergency communications across the globe.

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    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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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