Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Christmas cards
By Kevin Hunsperger 
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Two days after Thanksgiving my grandma, Betty Bresler, died after suffering a heart attack earlier that week.  For as long as I could remember, she was an avid volunteer at the VA Hospital located at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.  My grandpa, Harry Bresler, Sr., who died when my mom was a teenager, was in the U.S. Navy and served in World War II, which I think contributed to my grandma's serving at the hospital up until her death.

Over the weekend, I was helping my parents put up Christmas decorations.  In one of the tubs, I found dozens of unsent Christmas cards.  My first thought was to just put them in the recycling bin or take them to the thrift shop, but then it hit me.  Why not send them out to our troops who may not get a holiday greeting otherwise?  Better yet, I decided to incorporate my kids into the project, hence creating a new family tradition.

My daughter working hard
I did a little research on line and found that the American Red Cross has a program called Holiday Mail for Heroes.  If you want to participate, the time to act is now.  Here's the link with the complete list of rules, but in short, the deadline is this Friday, December 6.

Make sure your cards are signed.  Like I said, my kids are helping with this and took time to write a quick note in each card we're sending.  Also, use generic salutations like "Dear Service Member." Make sure you're only sending cards, because letters will not be accepted.  

Spelling doesn't count!
Here are some of the other requirements with the program:

  • 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.
All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

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