This holiday season, the American Red Cross urged people across the country to write holiday messages of hope to deployed U.S. troops who are stationed away from home.
To lend support for this important program, First Lady Melania Trump and Second Lady Karen Pence created and signed more than 1,300 cards. Their messages alongside comfort kits—filled with essential hygiene items—will be delivered to service members stationed in Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and in the Middle East. First Lady Melania Trump shares on the importance of sending thanks to our troops, “As families and friends gather to celebrate, let’s remember our brave service men and women who may not be able to be with their loved ones this year. This holiday season, it’s important to come together to support and thank our deployed service members as they spend the holidays apart from their families.”
HISTORY OF HELPING HEROES
The two women take part in a long collaborative history between the American Red Cross and First and Second Ladies of comforting U.S. troops. The Red Cross has helped deployed soldiers through the delivery of comfort kits since WWI. The advent of support from First Ladies came from Eleanor Roosevelt, who traveled with the Red Cross to visit soldiers in the South Pacific during WWII.
Today, this rich tradition continues as America’s First and Second Ladies annually write holiday messages. The newer tradition of building comfort kits started three years ago. First Lady Melania Trump shares why support of this service is essential, “The American Red Cross care kits have become a meaningful way to send a touch of home and holiday cheer to our deployed service members and their families during the holiday season. We must continue to promote this essential program and the many volunteers who dedicate their time to make a difference for those deployed overseas and their loved ones.”
SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES
The legacy of the American Red Cross was founded on the battlefield through the work of Clara Barton. Since its founding, the American Red Cross has been supporting military, veterans and their families. Today, the Red Cross remains committed to serving the military community at every step – from the time a service member takes the oath to navigating life as a veteran.
Each year, the Red Cross provides around 471,000 services to members of the military, veterans and their families by leveraging a network of some 14,700 volunteers across the country and around the world. This global presence enables the Red Cross to provide in-person support for troops on more than 100 military installations and deployment sites worldwide, including Iraq, Djibouti, Kuwait and more.
In times of emergency, the Red Cross facilitates communication between service members and their loved ones through the Hero Care Network, which is available online, by phone, through our mobile app or in person, 24 hours a day. To improve mental wellness, free resiliency workshops are offered in-person and online, providing military and veteran communities with effective tools for facing challenges and stress. Red Cross medical and non-medical volunteers provide care, comfort and therapy items at veteran hospitals and military treatment facilities. Caregivers of injured military and veterans of all eras, are supported through online and in-person peer support to reduce their isolation, increase their sense of hope, their knowledge and skills.