Red Cross Chapters Enable Public to Give Something that Means Something this Holiday Season

“Holiday Mail for Heroes” Mailbox Open Through December 6

The local kick-off to the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes program signifies that Americans who wish to send a holiday card to a service member can easily do so with the help of the Red Cross.

From now through to December 6, Americans can express their gratitude and best wishes for the holiday season to those who give the ultimate gift to our country. Service members, Veterans and their families will receive cards across the country and around the world.

m21766142_514x260-holiday-mail-for-heroes-girl“It just takes a moment to sign a card to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military community make,” said John Kost, Services to Armed Forces Program Manager. “You say thanks, and we’ll do the rest.”

The Red Cross invites the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer by mailing them to:

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

Card Guidelines
Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country. 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 can not 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.

Red Cross volunteers across the United States and on military installations overseas sort and deliver the cards throughout the holiday season. The Red Cross has received and distributed more than 6.5 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans and their families since the program began in 2006.

Each local chapter is also recruiting volunteers to help distribute cards to military members and Veterans in the community around the holidays. In past years, cards have been presented at hospitals, clinics, nursing home and VFW events.

Photo on 2013-10-31 at 20.57 #2

Cienna Vang, 6, shows off her creativity with holiday cards. Her special note to the troops- “Thank you for keeping us safe. I hope you get a lot of presents.”

To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than December 6. Individuals are asked to refrain from sending letters, monetary donations, or any other kinds of inserts with the cards and from using glitter. More information and card requirements can be found at redcross.org/holidaymail.

The Red Cross also invites the public to share photos and videos of their card signing efforts or their holiday greeting for troops by using the hashtag #HolidayMail on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine accounts. The Red Cross will use the material on its social sites throughout the holiday season.  The public also can connect with fellow card senders through Facebook.com/redcross and Twitter.com/redcross using the hashtag #holidaymail.

The Red Cross relies on the support of the American people to carry out its mission of service to the 2 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces, 24 million veterans and their families. During this holiday season, the public can also support all Red Cross services by making a financial donation at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. Individuals can also give the gift of life by making an appointment to give blood at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

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